How to Know If Your Child Has "Autism"

August 20, 2014

Autistic Disorder is caused by abnormalities in the structure and chemicals of the brain, leading to problems with social interaction and language development. It is believed that autism occurs during pregnancy. Some autistic disorders may become noticeable in young children, but some may not.

Generally, children with autistic disorders will experience social and language developmental problems. For example, autism can prevent children from forming relationships with other children. The following are the common symptoms of autism:

  •  Language development
    • Delayed language development; language less developed than average for age
    • Repeating words
    • Making up language/vocabulary
    • Stuttering
    • Unusual speech intonation
    • Mispronunciation
  • Social development (forming relationships with others)
    • Avoiding eye contact with others
    • Lack of interest in things, such as not pointing at what they want (exceptions include when they are preoccupied with something)
    • Lack of facial expressions, such as not smiling or laughing
    • Preferring to play alone or stay alone
    • Not socially interacting well with others, such as not greeting others, not smiling and running away from others’ greetings
    • Not communicating well with others
    • Lack of seeking help from others
    • Failing to develop friendships with children of the same age
  • Other developments
    • Demonstrating repetitive behaviors
    • Resistance to change; for example, always wearing the same shoes and persistently crying if made to wear new/different shoes 
    • Preferring to keep objects in an orderly fashion, such as lining toys in a neat row  
    • Preoccupation with specific parts of objects, such as the moving wheels of toy cars, moving fans, or other moving objects
    • Not liking role-playing

If you observe any of these abnormal behaviors in your children, please consult a doctor immediately. In order to produce the best results, autism should be treated when the children are as young as possible, preferably less than 5 years old. Various behavioral therapies and training programs have been designed to treat autistic children. It is important to begin treatment as early as possible so as to help autistic children to grow up functioning as normally as possible.

By Dr. Supapanvadee Phuchareon, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrician, Children’s (Pediatrics) Center, Bumrungrad Hospital

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