Autism is usually diagnosed by doctors when a child is three to four years old. Parents would notice signs much earlier, but physicians would be hesitant to diagnose autism as early because some of its symptoms are also exhibited by perfectly normal kids.
If a wrong diagnosis is given, then parents might restrict the opportunities for their children, believing that they have autism when they actually just have normal delays in their development; however, researchers still recommend early detection and intervention because it is best to identify the disorder in a very early age. They recommend detecting autism before the age of two.
The following are some early signs of autism that autistic children may show before they are two years old.
Researchers have found out that babies later diagnosed with autism fail to respond to their own name. When called by their parents, they do not look at them. Babies who don’t have the disorder will typically look at people calling their names. Children with autism also do not respond to people talking to them and instead show interest in other noises in the background.
Children with autism often want to be alone. They do not like to play with other kids or seem to be unaware of their presence at all. They would also be irritated when their parents cuddle them, or they might only like to be cuddled when they want to.
Young children with autism often have difficulty establishing eye contact with their parents. They often also show no interest in people or objects around them. When someone points to something, they fail to follow it. For example, when an airplane flies overhead, they ignore it or don’t seem to notice it. They are also uninterested in their toys and do not show them to their parents.
Babies with autism have difficulty learning mimic games or the typical infant games that young children and parents play. They rarely imitate the facial expressions or the sounds that others make.
Researchers have also found that young children with autism fail to respond emotionally to others. They don’t smile when others smile at them. They also seem unconcerned when other children cry.
Autistic children don’t engage in pretend games at all. These are the games that children play where they pretend to be a mother feeding their doll, for instance, or a policeman. Children with autism may also play differently with their toys than other kids their age. For example, the child may only focus on the wheels of a toy car rather than playing with the entire toy.
If parents observe these early symptoms in their children, then they should go to the doctor or an autism expert and have them checked. There are now several screening procedures that are available to diagnose autism early. Detecting this disorder early is the key to coping with it more easily.