Diagnoses of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) have risen steadily since the 1960s to the current rate of 1 in 68 children in the United States. As diagnoses continue to rise, awareness of early signs and symptoms more important than ever. While there is no “cure” for autism, early intervention, including speech-language therapy, has been shown to significantly improve the likelihood of positive treatment outcomes. Take a look below at some of the signs and symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders:
- Communication issues: A child with autism may develop speech and language skills more slowly than their peers or even “lose” words that they learned at an earlier age. Limited vocabulary, difficulty expressing wants and needs, and difficulty responding to questions can all be signs that your child is having language development issues.
- Social problems: Children with ASD often have issues with basic social skills. Limited or absent eye contact is one common symptom. They may also become very narrowly focused on a particular object or topic. Unexpected or unexplained outbursts of emotion are also common, for example, bursts of crying, uncontrolled laughter, or intense anger with no apparent cause.
- Sensory issues: Children on the autistic spectrum often have issues dealing with different physical sensations. They may be averse to eating certain foods or be unable to tolerate particular materials or types of clothing. Repetitive movements, like hand flapping, are also common, and seen as a way for a child to stimulate his own sensory system. Sensitivity to loud noises, intense light, or physical touch can also be signs of sensory issues.
It’s important to note that just because your child demonstrates one or even a few of these behaviors it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. Many of these behaviors are often seen in typically developing children. However, it’s always best to play it safe when it comes to your child’s development—if several of the criteria above describe your child or you feel something isn’t right, make an appointment to have your child evaluated right away. Getting the right treatment early can make a world of difference.
Want to learn more? Check out this list of early signs of autism by Autism Speaks.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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