May is Better Speech and Hearing Month! This annual campaign is run by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is designed to help raise public awareness of communication disorders and the help that is available through speech-language therapy services. This year’s theme is “Identify the Signs”, and focuses on helping the public to learn how to identify a communication disorder in its early stages. Today, we’ll focus our blog on some of the early signs and symptoms of autism.
Autism is formally known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This term is used because autism can manifest in a variety of ways, with different symptoms emerging at different levels of severity. Because of this, not all the behaviors listed below will appear in every child with autism. In addition, it is very important to note that many of these symptoms can also be present in typically developing children; seeing some of the signs below in your child does not necessarily mean they have ASD. However, if you notice that many of these describe your child, you should meet with your healthcare provider for an evaluation. Early intervention is key in treatment, and it’s always better to play it safe.
Signs and Symptoms of ASD
- Very limited speech; Loss of words the child was previously able to say
- Difficulty expressing basic wants and needs
- Poor vocabulary development
- Problems following directions or finding objects that are named
- Repeating what is said (echolalia)
- Problems answering questions
- Speech that sounds different (e.g., “robotic” speech or speech that is high-pitched)
- Poor eye contact with people or objects
- Poor play skills (pretend or social play)
- Being overly focused on a topic or objects that interest them
- Crying, becoming angry, giggling, or laughing for no known reason or at the wrong time
- Disliking being touched or held
Reacting to the world around them:
- Rocking, hand flapping or other movements (self-stimulating movements)
- Problems dealing with changes in routine
- Feeding difficulties (accepting only select foods, refusing certain food textures)
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
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