Early Signs of Autism in Children and How to Cope
Did you know that autism now affects one in 68 children in the United States? Every child develops at his or her own pace, but it is important for parents to recognize the signs of autism. Early treatment has been shown to improve outcomes dramatically. Being aware of the symptoms and what developmental milestones your child should be reaching at certain times is crucial.
Below are warning signs that might indicate your child is at risk for an autism disorder. Speak to your pediatrician if you notice:
- No big smiles or warm expressions by six months
- No sharing of sounds, smiles, or facial expressions by nine months
- No jabbering by 12 months No gestures by 12 months (waving, pointing, reaching, etc.)
- No words by 16 months
- No meaningful two-word phrases that are not imitating or repeating by two years
- Any loss of speech, jabbering, or social skills at any age
You know your child best, so your experiences and observations are key. Monitor your child’s development, take action if you’re worried, and trust your instincts. If something seems abnormal, don’t wait and see what happens. Speak with your doctor or ask to be referred to a specialist.
When a child is diagnosed with autism, it can be life-altering. Relationships, physical health, and emotional health can be impacted by it, but there are many ways to cope with the challenges that autism presents. Take the following steps:
- Learn everything you can about autism and talk to your doctor about any questions you may have so you feel confident and well-educated on the topic. Teach family members what you know so they can
understand your needs and what your child is going through.
- Build a strong network with people who can provide support on various levels, including emotional, social, and informational.
- Review the treatment options and go over them with your doctor to determine the best choice for your child. Look into the benefits of behavioral training and consider your child’s need for medications.
- Take time for yourself and give yourself a break. Make sure doctor’s appointments don’t overwhelm your schedule. Focus on your health, marriage, other relationships, hobbies, and anything else that makes you happy.
Remember that every person with autism is unique. Your love, support, and awareness will help your child grow into the beautiful person he or she is meant to be.