Let's Talk About Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part II



What are some of the signs that your child may have ASD?

Typically, some of these red flags are present by the time a child is about two years old. As he or she develops, the signs of difficulties with social interaction and language or communication become more apparent. As mentioned, we typically look at three main areas when considering whether a child may have ASD.

REMEMBER these signs do not necessarily warrant an ASD diagnosis. If you are concerned about your child’s development, it is important to consult a professional.
The signs that you may notice include:

Social communication and interactions
  • Lack of eye contact and/or facial expressions
  • Lack of appropriate response to greetings or other conversational cues
  • Difficulty understanding or using appropriate non-verbal communication, such as gestures, body language, and facial expressions
  • Difficulty with back-and-forth of conversations
  • Appearing to be unaware of others’ feelings or experiences
  • Difficulty making friends or maintaining relationships
  • Lack of imaginative play
Restrictive or repetitive behaviours and interests
  • Repetitive motor movements, such as flapping of hands or rocking
  • Unusual and/or repetitive play with toys, such as lining them up
  • Repetition of sounds, words, or phrases out of context (echolalia)
  • Difficulty coping with changes to routine; insistence on sameness
  • Restricted interests with high levels of intensity or focus, such as fixation with aeroplanes or fans
  • Unusual responses to sensory input, such as an indifference to pain or temperature changes, or negative reactions to specific sounds or textures
General
  • Delayed language development or regression in language development
  • Self-injury, such as head banging or biting self
  • Other behavioural challenges, such as tantrums and aggressiveness, may be present
  • Delayed motor development, such as odd gait, clumsiness, or difficulty with other motor tasks
  • Experiencing delays or a plateau in the developmental of skills or losing a previously learned skill

Could my child have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and another diagnosis?

Yes, ASD is often associated with other disorders and they be present simultaneously in a child. Some examples of simultaneous diagnoses that may occur include Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), language disorders, and anxiety disorders. Some medical conditions, such as epilepsy, sleep problems, and feeding difficulties/disorders can also occur with ASD.

I think my child might have ASD or another developmental delay. What now?

If you’re concerned about any aspect of your child’s development, it’s best to consult a professional sooner rather than later. Early intervention is critical in ensuring that developmental delays do not snowball into further delays.

Our Educational Psychologists have experience and knowledge in working with children of all ages with ASD and other developmental delays. They will be able to assess your child’s developmental delays (if any) and make the appropriate diagnosis. If necessary, they will refer you to other appropriate health professionals so that they can work as a team to support your child and you. They, together with you, will devise a support plan for your child to address the identified difficulties. This may involve psychotherapy, such as emotional or behavioural therapy for your child; physical and/or sensory therapy, such as occupational therapy; speech and language therapy; and/or parent guidance.
 
Let’s Talk About Autism – Part III will look at some of the therapies and support available to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.

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