20 Top Red Flags: How to Identify ASD at an Early Age

Autism Spectrum Disorder Early Signs-

Date: 01 Sep, 2022

Author: George Alex

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by social, linguistic, motor and behavioral challenges. The disorder can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe. The disorder can be identified in children before 30 months of age and certain deficits such as difficulties in social interaction can be identified as early as in initial 6 months of an infant’s life (for example: not smiling back, not reaching out to others, not seeking out love and warmth). Many risk factors such as premature birth, low birth weight, hypoxia, family history of ASD, exposure to lead, maternal infections (example-rubella, syphilis) have been associated with the condition. Several treatment strategies suggested by expert child counsellor are cognitive training/ABA/behavior modification, psychosocial interventions, occupational therapy, speech therapy are now being employed for treatment. Early identification is very crucial since it helps children receive the suitable assistance services which facilitate their growth, ameliorate difficulties and prevent future developmental issues.

Absence of speech and speech deficits, many times, are one of the commonly identified signs of ASD by parents and caregivers. However, absence of speech can be solely mistaken for speech delay in the child which can further prevent the child from receiving early intervention. Hence, parents must carefully observe their child, be aware and observe whether the child faces difficulties in other areas. It is of utmost importance to consult a trained Clinical Psychologist if parents think that their child is at the risk of ASD. A Child Counsellor can help navigate child’s problems and design a suitable intervention programme. Following is the list containing some of the common signs of autism spectrum disorder observed in children.

Caregivers Should be on a Lookout for the Following Signs of ASD and Consult a Specialist on Identifying these Signs in their Children:

  1. The child avoids looking people in the eye (Observe whether the child maintains an eye contact with you while you talk to the child).
  2. The Child does not respond to name, do not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age.
  3. The child does not smile back at a smiling face (Observe how the child responds when somebody smiles at the child).
  4. The child is withdrawn, unresponsive, responds after a delay (Initiate a conversation with the child, for example, ask the child “how was your day?”, observe how the child responds).
  5. The child doesn’t seek out others, doesn’t respond to name (Observe whether child stays aloof and is ignorant to comings and goings of people around him/her).
  6. The child has difficulties with social interaction, doesn’t participate in group activities/play (Observe whether the child indulges in a simple game of ball toss with others, whether waits for turn).
  7. The child has inappropriate emotional reactions (observe whether child laughs at inappropriate times, gets excited and distressed without any reason)
  8. The child talks to himself/herself.
  9. The child’s speech does not develop normally. The child may have acquired speech and then lost it (Observe whether child’s speech is as per his/her chronological age, whether the child lags behind peers of same age).
  10. The often child repeats what you are saying without following the command (for example, when you say “do this”, the child repeats “do this” without actually following the command).
  11. Echolalia: The child repeats certain words, phrases throughout the day which are out of context and/or utters meaningless sounds.
  12. Echopraxia, also called “echomotism,” is the involuntary repetition of another person’s movements or actions. The child indulges in repetitive body movements (for example, the child keeps flapping hands, repetitively makes specific hand gestures).
  13. The child is overly attached to a specific object/toy (for example: the child keeps a specific toy to oneself, cries when the toy is taken away, returns to the same toy at the end of the day).
  14. The child is restless, seems full of energy and is difficult to control.
  15. The child shows aggressive behavior, for example, the child kicks, screams when frustrated.
  16. The child indulges in self-harming behavior, for example, the child hits oneself/bites oneself/ bangs head repetitively.
  17. The child follows same routine and shows resistance to change (for example, the child prefers to sit at the same spot, listens to same stories, plays with same toys in a similar manner, and gets frustrated when something deviates from normal routine, doesn’t like being in unfamiliar environment, and cries uncontrollably until familiarity is restored).
  18. The child’s behavior reflects sensory issues (for example, the child covers ears when exposed to certain sounds, identifies things by smelling/touching, doesn’t like getting a haircut or their nails cut).
  19. The child does not track objects (To assess this, take the child’s toy away and observe whether the child tries to track the toy)
  20. The child has an unusual vision (for example, the child looks at objects from the corner of eye)

Also Read: Hba1c Test For Diabetes

Development of the Child:

The discussed signs of ASD can be identified in early developmental period. Early intervention which begins before or during preschool age has significant advantages. The brain is developing in the initial three years of child’s life and thus, can accommodate and adapt more easily and efficiently than later stages in life. The changes that take place during this period are permanent, resulting in lifelong improvements. Early intervention leads to improvement in overall development of the child. Talk help from an online Child Counsellor and work with them to improve social skills in your child, which are one of the significant deficit areas of children with ASD, are worked upon and improved.

Role of Parents for Child Development:

Through intervention, children are equipped with effective coping strategies and get means to express themselves more efficiently. Caregivers, who are also found to be impacted physically and psychologically, get the required support, empathy and resources. Thus, the intervention enhances family relationships and results in improved quality of life. Hence, earlier the treatment, better are the chances of improvement. As a parent of a child with ASD, you play an integral role in determining your child’s course of development and in shaping the future of your child. Hence, it is important to educate yourself about ASD. Awareness is the very first step suggest by expert Child Counsellor towards helping your child.

Searching for “Psychologist near me”, connect with TalktoAngel an Online Counselling platform. Talk to best Child Counsellor and embrace your child’s strengths and weaknesses and provide him/her with a nurturing, accepting environment.

By George Alex

George Alex, a business/E-commerce copywriter and professional content writer at Gator Packaging. Having more than 5 years working experience in the packaging industry, I am writing well-structured articles and guest posts on the most searched topics.

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