Autism Awareness Month: What is autism spectrum disorder?

 

April is autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Month. Autism consists of a range of developmental challenges, including speech delay, lack of social skills, and repetitive behaviors. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 44 children in the United States has autism. An autism diagnosis from the pediatrician can come as early as 18 months of age, but signs typically present between ages 2 and 3.

It is important to remember that an autism diagnosis does not define who a child is. Therefore, it is best to say that a child has autism and not to say a child is autistic. Below are the early signs of autism in children:

1. Speech delay

Children with autism typically do not form many words and therefore cannot say two or more-word phrases and full sentences. Often, they will communicate nonverbally by pointing, reaching, or waving to get a caregiver’s attention.

2. Repetitive behaviors

Children with autism tend to repeat both words and behaviors. The act of repeating words is called echolalia and occurs when children hear a word or phrase and repeat it back. Repetitive behaviors by children with autism are exhibited by flapping arms or legs, rocking back and forth, and spinning in circles.

3. Lack of social skills

Children with autism have difficulty forming relationships with others due to challenges in understanding others’ emotions and feelings. They also tend to want to be alone and might keep to themselves away from other children. A lack of eye contact is also a sign of autism and contributes to difficulties bonding with other children and caregivers.

Above are only a few signs of autism. Talk to your family pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child. Remember that you are not alone, and hundreds of thousands of families have at least one child with autism in the United States and around the world. For more information on autism, click here.

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Source: Autism Speaks

Welcome to Club Spectrum! You didn’t want to be here. Don’t feel bad about that. No one signs up for this gig. Think of it this way — at least you now know what the Hell is going on. Better than not knowing at all. Mama Fry ain’t no expert, but I do have some tips that help you from going crazy.