A cute little 2 year old boy was standing on the couch in my office. He was looking out and continuously tapping his fingers on the glass window.
“He never runs around shouting or making a mess like other children of his age. Rather he loves being on his own, lining up his cars, and sequencing his toys,” said his mother. His parents feared he had some hearing issue, as he never responded to his name or to any loud noise.
His hearing turned out to be OK, because he heard me loud and clear when I named his favorite potato chips. He came running to me, snatched the bag of chips, and after finishing his treat in a jiffy, was standing on the couch again. I could see the relief on the faces of that young couple. Though I didn’t want to spoil their joy, there were a few pre-signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that I could observe in the little boy and I had to let the parents know about it.
Before I get into the details of the early signs, let me assure you;
- Warning signs are just alarms so you can take precautionary measures as early as possible, It’s not a diagnosis.
- Your life does not end if your child acts or learns differently. Rather, it adds color to your life
- Every child develops differently, but if you suspect some delays do look for professional guidance.
Early detection leads to early intervention
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States 1 out of every 54 children is diagnosed with ASD. This is an alarmingly high prevalence rate. It becomes very important for parents to get familiar with the early signs and symptoms of ASD, because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), intervention services in early childhood can be very effective. Early identification can be the key to facilitate a child’s near to normal development.
Most common signs of ASD
Early signs of ASD are mostly visible in the areas of socialization and communication. But children also exhibit repetitive behaviors and extremely restricted interests and preferences. Few most common early signs of ASD include:
- not responding to smiles of parents
- not responding to own name
- no or little babbling
- delayed or no speech
- disliking cuddles or physical contact
- hand flapping
- body rocking
- oversensitivity to lights or sounds
- repeating sounds or words (echolalia)
- very restricted eating preferences
- avoiding playing with other children
- resistance to change in routine
- a like for arranging things in a sequential order.
- Hyper- or hypo-sensitivity to different sensory inputs like sounds, lights, touch, pressure, etc.
Free screening tool for 16–30 month old children
If you suspect your child is exhibiting some of these early signs, to be more sure, download and use this free screening tool for 16-30 month old children, M-Chat.
Look for professional guidance
Do remember early signs are a call for action, not a diagnosis. If you observe a few of these early signs, there is no need to panic, just reach out for professional support. Go ahead and contact your doctor for a full evaluation.