My Child Has Signs Of Autism
Now What?

If your child has signs of autism, Dr. Frazier advises scheduling a visit to your pediatrician right away. You’ll discuss developmental concerns, and the doctor will evaluate your baby for autism. “We have evidence that suggests the quicker you can get a diagnosis, the earlier you can enroll in developmental and behavioral interventions,” says Dr. Frazier.

Early intervention is meant help your baby cope with autism symptoms and possibly even reverse them. As your child gets older, intervention might include speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and whatever else experts believe will help your child thrive. The ultimate goal is “making the symptoms more manageable and enhancing life as much as possible,” says Dr. Silverman.

Little Or No Imitation Other People Of Pretending

They use a variety of functional actions like putting a sippy cup in their mouth to drink and a spoon in their mouth to eat.

From this, they learn to pretend in play they may offer you a sip with a cup or bottle, give Teddy bear a hug and cover him with a blanket or jiggle a pan with invisible stuff inside to pretend to cook.

Children with autism usually have strengths in using objects in solitary play.

If your child is showing little or no imitating of others, and is not beginning to pretend in play, it can be an early sign of autism.

Recommended Reading: Lifespan Of Someone With Autism

Dont Be Afraid Learn The 16 Early Signs Of Autism

Its going to be a problem eventually that you will have to deal with. Dont be afraid. Dont let that stop you from helping your child. Jacobis mom

Go to to find tools and resources on what every parents needs to know about early learning. Because, what you do and say can make all the difference.

Remarkable Infants is a HUGE resource for new parents. This online course, taught by 5 child development experts, is a 5 hour crash course on development of the whole child from birth through 12 months of age. It is literally everything that we WISH new parents knew about tummy time, positioners, developmental milestones, baby play, communication, sleep, and nutrition.

Steps to Take When Your Child Is Diagnosed with Autism

The First Steps to Take When Your Child Receives an Autism Diagnosis

The First Steps to Take When Your Child Receives an Autism Diagnosis

I can still remember the sucker punch delivered when the psychologist told me “Your son has autism.” I knew it was a big possibility, but hearing those words out loud was like being hit by a freight train. When your child receives an autism diagnosis, where do you even start? Therapy? Education? Support groups? There is so much information out there, and so many therapy services are offered, that it’s easy to get lost in the confusion. Let’s talk about a few good places to start.

I was so overwhelmed when my child received and autism diagnosis, and I had so many questions. I didn't know where to start, but these tips made it much less overwhelming! #autismdiagnosis #asddiagnosis #autismawareness #autismmom #autismmoms #spectrumsense #spectrumsenseformoms

The first thing you should do when your child receives and autism diagnosis is educate yourself.

I cannot stress this enough. No, you won’t become an expert overnight; but researching autism and your child’s specific needs will set the foundation for their progress.You have to remember that you are your child’s biggest advocate. All therapists are not equal, and if you happen to be dealt a poor one, you need to be able to fall back on your own knowledge to realize if something is amiss.

Being well educated on the spectrum will ensure that your child gets the proper care.
Make sure you don’t miss these less common warning signs of autism. 

Here are some helpful resources for learning more about autism:
Spectrum Sense: Making Sense of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Society

National Autism Association

Autism 101

1001 Ideas for Autism

Look into therapy options

If you’re new to the autism world, you may not have heard this phrase yet: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” It means just that – because the spectrum is so vast, and the symptoms are so varied, each person with autism is different. They have different strengths and weaknesses, different sensory sensitivities, and different therapy requirements. Because of these differences, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation.Your child may receive specific therapy recommendations along with their autism diagnosis. If this is the case, get these therapies lined up as soon as possible, but still take the time to find out how each one works. Below is a list of common therapies suggested for autism spectrum disorders, and links providing a general overview:

ABA therapy

Speech therapy

Occupational therapy (OT)

Behavior therapy

Physical therapy

Connect with other autism moms

This is SO important. See, the best therapist in the world is not going to want to talk to you at 3 am when your child is having a full blown meltdown and no one is able to sleep. You need a community of moms who have been there, and who can understand.One of the best ways to find community is through FaceBook groups. (I never thought I would say that!) I have been involved in some amazing autism groups on FaceBook, and this is an excellent place for parents of newly diagnosed kids to get tons of answers and support.
Check these ones out:

Spectrum Sense for Moms Group

Christian Autism Mamas

Autism Moms Support Group

High Functioning Autism Moms Support

You can also find other autism moms through your local therapy services and centers, and sometimes through support groups at your church.Make sure you get a social worker as quickly as possible. They can help you find many services for your child, including respite care.

Know who to support

I don’t normally get into discussions about who to support or not support, but I feel strongly obligated to add this. Many wonderful mothers immediately want to join every “support” and “awareness” group there is when their child receives an autism diagnosis. Since most people don’t take (or have) the time to thoroughly investigate every organization before they support it, they may not know what that organization truly stands for.

With that said, Autism Speaks is NOT an autism advocacy group. They look like it on the surface, but their ultimate goal is to find a genetic marker to detect in prenatal scans, in order to abort autistic babies before they are allowed to enter the world. A huge portion of their revenue goes to this research, while less than 5% goes to actually helping autistic people and families. Their goal is to abolish the entire autism spectrum, so please do not get sucked into supporting them, like so many others have. Instead, look for groups who are supporting autism families, funding therapy programs, and researching new treatment options.

Some true autism advocacy groups are:

Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) 

Autism Society of America

National Autism Association

The National Autistic Society (UK).

 Remind yourself that you’re not alone

An autism diagnosis is not the end of the world, even as devastating as it can feel. Your child is still the same person they were before that label was given. Remember that. With all the therapy and treatment options out there today, your child has a much better chance of thriving in ways that would not have been possible in previous generations.

Below you will find information on Autism and briefs on various therapies and home programs 

Why Planning Early Intervention is the Best Thing You Can do for Your Child

I would see anomalies in behavior and her sensory reactions, people told me not to worry about the delays that I was seeing. Family members, friends, and even doctors told us, “That’s normal!” or “My child does that too.” In my heart, I knew it wasn’t normal, and that is why I advocate strongly for early intervention. People think I’m crazy regarding this topic, but I stand by my beliefs because I have seen first-hand with my children how early intervention can change their life.

Why Early Intervention is the Best Thing You Can do for Your Child

What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is a service each state offers, but it is so much more than that. It is helpful for a child who may be delayed or have disabilities.

This is partly true for my family. My children have been a part of early intervention programs in several states we have lived in, and it has been helpful; however, as a parent, I have been able to help my kids much more than most programs can provide.For us, early intervention is receiving services and therapies my children need at a young age to help them succeed and have a better quality of life.

Early intervention is to help children succeed and to have a better quality of life in the future

Signs Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers

According to the CDC, every one in 68 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder.

As with any health issue, its best to get diagnosed as early as possible. The same goes for children with autism.

According to the CDC, every one in 68 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder, with boys being 4.5 times more likely to have the disorder than girls.

Many children dont get diagnosed until theyre older, even though experienced professionals are able to make reliable diagnoses by age 2. The average age of diagnosis is 4 years old, with some variance based on the type of disorder.

Heres the breakdown from the CDC:

  • Autistic disorder: 3 years, 10 months

  • Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified : 4 years, 1 month

  • Asperger disorder: 6 years, 2 months

Its important to pay close attention to a childs behavior early on to see if theyre displaying the signs of autism, as early intervention is beneficial. And research also shows that parents generally notice developmental differences in their child even before he or she is a year old. If your parental instinct tells you something may be delayed in your child, its a very good idea to trust that and seek an expert opinion.

Theres no one medical test that can determine if a child has an autism spectrum disorder, but there are a number of behaviors and developmental delays that could indicate your child has autism.

Early Signs Of Autism In A 2 Year Old

If you feel like your 2-year-old doesnt seem to be catching up with their development milestones, you may start looking for certain signs of autism spectrum disorder for any delays.Mild symptoms can be mistaken for being shy or the terrible twos.

Here are some red flags that may indicate ASD:

  • Doesnt speak more than 15 words,

  • Cant walk ,

  • Doesnt know functions of household items like fork,

  • Doesnt imitate parents actions or words,

  • Doesnt use items for their own purposes,

  • Doesnt follow simple instructions

Don’t Miss: Lifespan Of Autism

Early Intervention is the Best Thing You Can do for Your Child. 

What is Early Intervention?

The term Early Intervention indicates different meanings to different professionals. In this article, we are discussing Early Intervention related to the rehabilitation of a child and role of occupational therapy in early intervention.

Early refers to the critical period of a child’s development between birth and 3 years of age. Intervention refers to the treatment program designed to improve or maintain the child’s development.

Early intervention plan for kids is very effective for those children who are at high risk of developmental delay. The goal of early intervention is to prevent the physical, cognitive, social, emotional delay because of biological risk factor (low birth weight, fetal alcohol syndrome) or environmental risk factor (parental neglect, homelessness) in the young children.

Early Intervention and occupational therapy

Early Intervention Team-

Early intervention service is not limited to occupational therapy. Other professional also has their own role and importance. In early intervention, the role of family members is very important. Occupational therapist should collaborate with family and other professional for better service.

The team approach is used widely in early intervention. Professionals work together as a team to deliver the range of necessary services- medical aid, nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Role of Occupational therapy in Early Intervention –

Occupational therapy is considered as a primary service for the young children who needs early support. Occupational therapist assists in functional needs of the child.

The role of occupational therapist is to facilitate the independent functioning of infants and toddlers and their families. (Case-Smith, 1989)

Independent functioning of young children, according to their developmental age, is achieved through assessment and intervention effort in the areas of motor control, sensory modulation, adaptive coping, sensorimotor development, social-emotional development, daily living skills, and play. (Gorga, 1989)

Read More… Occupational Therapy for Children

Early Intervention and occupational therapy services-

In early intervention, occupational therapist plans out the initial assessment and set some objective and goals to achieve the desired outcome. After that,  the Occupational therapist applies intervention strategies.

Occupational therapy Evaluation and Assessment-

The process of evaluation is the gathering and interpreting of information on the child’s age, health status, medical history, current developmental level of functioning, family support to maximize the child’s development.

Who is eligible for the early intervention services?

The early diagnosis of a child helps him/her to get early intervention services. Diagnosis includes cerebral palsy, Down ’s syndromeADHDAutism, spina bifida are generally needed early intervention. But not limited to this, a child with developmental delay may be because of any genetic, chromosomal problem, neurologic problem, trauma is also needed early intervention.

The occupational therapist evaluates many developmental areas of child and point out the problematic area. In general, OT assesses the motor component, sensory component, perception, cognition, communication, social, and emotional aspects of the child.

The therapist may use informal assessment through observing the child playing with parents. More specifically, occupational therapist can choose from a variety of standardized assessment kit for better screening. Some are-

  • Bayley Scales of Infant Development

  • Erhardt developmental prehension assessment

  • The Hawaii Early Learning Profile(HELP);

  • The Assessment, Evaluation and Programming System for Infants and Children, Second Ed. (AEPS);

The occupational therapist on the early intervention team focuses on outcomes from a family-centered perspective. The goals should be focused on improvements in the gross motor skills and fine motor skills. The goals must be set after the discussion with the family member.

Occupational therapy Intervention-

Occupational therapists promote a child’s independence and self-confidence in their physical, emotional, and psychosocial development. Occupational therapy in early intervention is marked by engagement in meaningful occupations of the child and family in the natural environment.

Family centered approach –

In this approach, occupational therapist involves the family members in the intervention. The therapist guides the caretakers about the amount of involvement in child’s intervention program. Therapist can teach functional activities to the family members. Activities should be those that target behaviors and skills that the child can generalize to his or her daily routines at home, school, and community.

Activities should be those that target behaviors and skills that the child can generalize to his or her daily routines at home, school, and community. Therapist can provide support for families by listing to them, giving positive feedback regarding parenting skills.

Areas of Intervention-

Motor Area-

The motor skills are more prominent and attract first preference in the treatment planning. The gross motor skills, such as independent sitting, standing, and walking come under the first priority. Along with this, fine motor skills including grasp and release of objects, in-hand manipulation has its own importance.

Occupational therapist must be creative when designing intervention strategies with caregivers.

early intervention and occupational therapy

baby on the knees with hand activities

Sensory Processing –

Occupational therapist addresses therapy planning if there is anything related to sensory processing problem. The infant or toddlers may be irritable, cry frequently, be difficult to comfort, or have difficulty with changes in routine.

The therapist may use appropriate tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive input that elicits organized behavior and adaptive responses in the child.

kid on the platform swing

Occupational therapist promotes self-care in early intervention. Activities of daily living include feeding, dressing, toileting etc.

If self-care is restricted due to any motor or sensory issues, OT looks in that matter and guide the family member the right strategies. Many time modification of an environment is necessary for the adaptation. Assistive devices are also available, which help in feeding (modified spoon)

Play –

Occupational therapist assists in the refinement of the physical movement and mental abilities. Play is the perfect media OT uses to improve these areas. Play can be exploratory, creative, or competitive in nature. Therapist can teach a child gross motor and fine motor skills through play. The material (sand, plastic containers, spoons) typically found in the natural environment (home) should be the focus of play.

Adaptive Equipment-

Occupational therapist prescribes equipment that allows maximum function to the needs one. Custom made adaptive seating devices have been found to improve sitting postures and eating skills of young children with multiple handicaps. A variety of adjustable seating inserts, wheelchairs are available in the market. Therapist guides the parent which is the best option available for the particular child and helps them to train him.


Occupational therapy is an integral part of early intervention team. Occupational therapists use holistic approaches with children and their main goal is to make them independent. Occupational therapy in early intervention program considers sensory, motor, social, and cognitive aspects of performance.

Early Intervention Services for Autistic Children

EI exists to serve individual children with disabilities and their families. Thus, for example, a baby with cerebral palsy will receive very different services from a child with autism. Children with autism may be diagnosed as young as 18 months, and some are at high enough risk of autism that their services begin at an even younger age.1

In general (depending on the state), autistic children may be offered:1

  • Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy: There are many types of ABA available, and different approaches are more popular in different locations. ABA is intended to teach children appropriate behaviors and skills, with the ultimate goal of having them join the majority of their peers in school and the community.

  • Developmental or play therapy: There are several different types of play and developmental therapy. Approaches vary from state to state. Developmental therapies help build social communication skills and may help children with autism play and communicate more successfully with their peers.

  • Occupational and sensory integration therapy: Children with autism often have fine-motor challenges that make it difficult to handle a fork or draw with a pencil. They often have sensory challenges that make it difficult to experience bright lights and loud sounds (or they may crave sensory input). Occupational therapists work with autistic children to help them improve their skills and lessen sensory overload.

  • Speech therapy: Children with autism may have speech delays or not use speech typically (repeating words rather than using them meaningfully or having problems understanding abstract ideas). Early intervention can help them catch up to their peers, learn how to use spoken language, or use nonverbal tools for communication (such as picture boards or sign language).

  • Special preschool and summer programs: While an autistic child may receive some therapies at home or in an office setting, many states provide disability or special education preschool programs to enhance learning in a group setting. Programs may be in the local school district or a county or state-run setting.

Early Intervention Supports for Parents or Guardians

Many states offer EI programs for parents or guardians as well as children on the autism spectrum. Often, these programs are essentially parent and guardian training. Their purpose is to teach parents and guardians how to partner with therapists on an autistic child's behalf.

Some programs are also intended to help parents and guardians cope with the stress related to raising a child with autism. Parents and guardians may be offered:

  • Training from therapists: Therapists can only work with children for a limited number of hours a week, but parents and guardians have many more opportunities to build skills at any time of the day. Even better, research suggests that parents and guardians who feel that they have a role to play in an autistic child's development are less likely to feel overwhelmed.

  • Individual psychological support: In some cases, social workers or psychologists work directly with parents and guardians who are coping with significant stress related to their child's autism.

  • Group support programs: Often, EI programs include parent or guardian support group meetings in which information, tips, and emotional support are shared.

What are Some of the Signs of Autism in Babies

Parents can sometimes detect early signs of autism spectrum disorder in babies under 12 months old. Here’s what you need to know.

Watching your baby grow is an unforgettable experience. But while every child develops at their own level, failing to reach certain milestones could raise red flags. Some parents recognize signs of autism spectrum disorder when their baby is around 6-12 monthsand maybe even earlier, says Thomas Frazier, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist, autism researcher, and chief science officer of Autism Speaks. Here are the early signs of autism in babies, and why prompt diagnosis is key to managing the condition.

What To Do If You Suspect Autism

Firstly, do not blame yourself or your parenting skills. Its still researched and debated what the factors are that create autism in children. But it has nothing to do with how good or fit of a parent you are to your child.

Secondly, you will want to seek the advice of a medical professional in confirming your suspicions by booking an appointment at a development assessment center. For example, in the state of Texas, parents can book development assessment appointments online to confirm an autism diagnosis. Make a list of the various differences you notice in your child that you consider abnormal so that you dont miss anything that could help a potential diagnosis.

As previously mentioned, early intervention is key in helping your child develop coping skills for their autism as well as help your family establish an environment that will support your child. Sometimes as well depending on the severity of symptoms, intervention can possibly even reverse some habits and let them live a normal life.

Whichever the case, bringing abnormal behavior to your doctors attention is key for any suspected illness. Its better to be overly cautious and ask as many questions as possible than take a wait and see approach and potentially miss intervening early.

Recommended Reading: Level 3 Autism Symptoms

Lack Of Reaction To The Voice Or Presence Of A Parent

There is no turning of the head, no response to his/her name, no smile or babbling. A distinction should be drawn between a lack of reaction to a voice and lack of reaction to the presence of a parent: even if a baby does not hear, he/she will react to the presence of a parent. In any case, a hearing test should first be conducted before drawing conclusions.

Being On The Spectrum Can Mean A Wide Variety Of Experiences

Treating Infants for Autism May Eliminate Symptoms

Autism is described as a spectrum of disorders for a reason. Signs of autism can present differently.

Some individuals will have significant behavior and communication challenges that make the possibility of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis more likely.

In other cases, caregivers may notice occasional atypical behaviors but that dont immediately cause them to seek a full behavioral health evaluation.

In the latter scenario, a child may never have their autism diagnosed or addressed therapeutically. Its possible that mildly-expressed forms of ASD behavior go completely unnoticed.

But another possibility is that an undiagnosed child or their caregiver will feel frustrated by a lack of explanation for certain behavioral events. They may struggle with socialization, for instance, or they may lack commitment to extracurricular activities.

Ignoring the possibility of an autism diagnosis, especially if a child seems mostly neurotypical, can make it more difficult for them to adjust and have their needs met. For this reason, teachers and caregivers who observe subtle signs of ASD should speak with a mental health professional.

A childs parents, teachers, and others with a direct role in their life are the best observers when it comes to picking up on a possible autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Only a licensed mental health professional can come to a full, accurate diagnosis, but you dont have to be a professional to suspect that an ASD diagnosis is possible.

Also Check: Why Is Autism Symbol A Puzzle Piece

What Are Some of The Causes Of Autism

Experts donât fully understand all of the causes of autism spectrum disorder. It seems to be genetic, but things such as parental age and prescription medications taken during pregnancy may be involved.

For instance:

  • A person is more likely to be on the spectrum if a brother, sister, or parent is. But it doesnât always run in families.

  • About 10% of kids with ASD have a form of genetic disorder such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.

  • A large Danish study found a link between ASD and advanced parental age of either parent.

  • Women prescribed opioids just before pregnancy are likelier to have a child with ASD.

Some children who are on the spectrum start showing signs as young as a few months old. Others seem to have normal development for the first few months or years of their lives and then they start showing symptoms.

But up to half of parents of children with ASD noticed issues by the time their child reached 12 months, and between 80% and 90% noticed problems by 2 years. Children with ASD will have symptoms throughout their lives, but itâs possible for them to get better as they get older.

The autism spectrum is very wide. Some people might have very noticeable issues, others might not. The common thread is differences in social skills, communication, and behavior compared with people who arenât on the spectrum.

Signs Of Autism In Girls

The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is 4:1. However, there is some evidence that autism is going undiagnosed in girls, particularly those who are at the higher functioning end of the spectrum.

There is discussion around whether girls and women with autism may display different symptoms to boys and men, and that the current diagnostic criteria may be biased towards boys and stereotypical male behavior. Girls and women may also be better able to mask difficulties with social interactions than boys, and this may delay a diagnosis. New diagnostic criteria may be needed to assess ASD in girls and women. Past theories, including controversies such as the extreme male brain, may have led to under-referral and under-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls and women.

Signs that a girl may have autism include:

  • Difficulties with social interactions however, differences from typical autism symptoms may include:

  • Better grasp of emotions and ability to make friends than boys

  • May mask lack of intuitive understanding of social situations by repeating role-plays seen in real life or film/television

  • May be able to make friends but find difficulty keeping them

  • Intense focus on particular topics differences in gender may be expressed as a focus on trains or dinosaurs for boys, and celebrities or animals for girls,

  • Fewer repetitive behaviors and gestures than boys, or may have different gestures than boys

  • Read Also: Can Aspergers Be Outgrown

    When To Seek Medical Advice

    Early intervention is very important in children with autism spectrum disorder. Services such as speech therapy and behavioral and skills training are more effective if begun when a child is young.

    For this reason, it is helpful to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. However, many children remain undiagnosed until they are in school. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adults.

    If you suspect someone has autism, including yourself, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

    Should I Get My Child Assessed

    Early Signs Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers | 5 Common Signs

    You should get your child assessed for ASD if:

    • you have concerns

    • you notice any signs or symptoms

    • your child has a close relative with ASD

    Normally, your health care provider will test your child first. You can help your health care provider understand the unusual behaviour you see by:

    • taking photographs

    • maintaining logs or diaries

    • capturing these behaviours on video

    If there are concerns, then your health care provider should refer you to a specialist for more tests. A specialist is the best person to help diagnose your child.

    Also Check: Camels Milk Autism

    Little Pointing Or Gesturing

    Babies usually learn to gesture before they learn to talk. In fact, gesturing is one of the earliest forms of communication. Autistic children generally point and gesture much less than children with nonautistic development. Less pointing can sometimes indicate the possibility of a language delay.

    Another indicator of a developmental difference is when an infants gaze doesnt follow you when youre pointing at something. This skill is sometimes called joint attention. Joint attention is often decreased in autistic children.

    Signs Of Autism In Infants

    Its important to note that every baby is unique and their symptoms or development may be different than whats listed here below. Its always best to consult your pediatrician or find a pediatric specialist in development to discuss any abnormal or odd habits that your baby is showing that could be signs of autism in infants.

    Also Check: Autism And Stuttering

    Hard To Look At You And Use A Gesture And Sound

    Babies learn to use gestures and sounds from 9-16 months to let you know what they want or dont want, and what theyre interested in.

    It should be easy for your baby to use a gesture and sound while theyre looking at you.

    If its hard for your baby to look at you and use a gesture and sound, all at the same time, this can be an early sign of autism.

    Development Of Infants With Early Signs Of Autism

    8 Signs of Autism in Infants

    While your baby is growing up, you may wonder if they are developing as they should. There are certain developmental milestones children hit as they grow up.

    It is important to keep an eye out for these so that you can see if your child is behind on their development.

    • smile at people

    • try to look at their parents

    • coo

    • turn their head towards sound

    If you notice that your baby is not engaging in such activities, you may want to get your child tested for ASD.

    Also Check: Severe Autism Life Expectancy

    What Are Patterns Of Behavior With Autism

    Children with ASD also act in ways that seem unusual or have interests that arenât typical, including:

    • Repetitive behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, or twirling

    • Constant moving and âhyperâ behavior

    • Fixations on certain activities or objects

    • Specific routines or rituals

    • Extreme sensitivity to touch, light, and sound

    • Not taking part in âmake-believeâ play or imitating othersâ behaviors

    • Fussy eating habits

    Can A Child Outgrow A Sensory Processing Issue

    While kids with sensory processing issues may need therapy into adulthood , they can learn to better cope with the sounds, smells and other sensations that they encounter as they grow.

    In the meantime, you can form a team with your childs occupational therapist and pediatrician to note any improvements in behavior once therapies have begun.

    Also Check: Low Functioning Aspergers

    They Struggle To Communicate

    A child with autism spectrum disorder can show a significantly reduced variety of sounds, words and gestures when they try to communicate.

    When theyre struggling with something, they may not call out for assistance as other toddlers tend to do.

    Toddlers with autism may not play with others or show interest or enjoyment in what theyre doing. If you notice your toddler consistently doesnt seek out social interactions with you or other children, it may be worth discussing with your doctor.

    Toddler Toe Walking: What To Know

    Researchers study signs of autism in babies

    Parents wait expectantly for the day their child toddles uneasily across the floor for the first time. Unfortunately the triumph and pride can turn to concern and worry when a toddler is moving in atypical ways like toe-walking. But a toddler walking on toes is not necessarily in-itself a reason for parents to be on red alert. There are a number of potential reasons for tip toe walking and only rarely do they relate to larger concerns like autism or cerebral palsy.

    Heres what parents of toe walking toddlers need to know.

    Recommended Reading: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism

    Don’t Miss: Printable Visual Cards For Autism

    100 ways to support autistic children and adults – for individuals, professionals and businesses.

    100 ways to support autistic children and adults

    Today marks the start of Autism Awareness week and April the 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. All over the world, people will be engaging in all kinds of activities and fundraising to help improve understanding and acceptance for autistic individuals everywhere. But what does autism awareness, and acceptance, actually mean? Will autistic people wake up on April the 3rd and find that their lives and experiences have improved? Will the people who learned something new about autism on April the 2nd go on to think of ways to support autistic children and adults around them? Hopefully, yes. The changes may not be felt or seen right away but every small piece of progress, every attitude that changes is a step towards making the world happier for everyone.

    However, sometimes awareness can be quite a vague thing. Plenty of people are far more knowledgeable about autism these days – almost everyone is aware of it in some way. But this does not always transfer into something that can provide practical support and acceptance for autistic people. People are aware of autism but, of course, they are not necessarily thinking about how they can implement that knowledge to be as helpful as possible, particularly if they are not personally touched by autism themselves.

    With that in mind, I have devised this list, with help from autism parents and actually autistic people all over the world, to be a practical list of things that individuals, professionals and businesses can do to actively improve something or make life easier for an autistic person, whether they are a child or an adult.

    It should be said that not all of these will apply to every single autistic person – obviously. However, the list as a whole should give some insight into the kinds of things that will help overall.

    100 ways to support autistic children and adults

    1. If you run a business that has music playing for any reason, turn it down.

    2. Dim your lights.

    3. Consider having a sensory-friendly time every week or every month when you turn off music and reduce other noise, light and bustle.

    4. If you cannot designate a time, put up information about your quiet times on public display so that your autistic customers can plan to come during those times.

    5. If you run a cinema, consider running autism-friendly screenings for films aimed at both adults and children.

    6. Consider providing sensory kits, like this one, for customers to use if needed.

    Sensory kit
    1. Do not wear perfume.

    2. If you work in a classroom or office with an autistic person, consider how you can remove background noise and be aware that they may find background noise very distracting.

    3. If you are in a public bathroom, consider using paper towels instead of electric hand-dryers.

    4. If you see a child cover their ears and scream, stop using the hand-dryers.

    5. If you see anyone react very negatively to a loud or repetitive noise, see if there is anything you can do to reduce the noise level or stop it entirely.

    6. If you are a business, consider removing electric hand-dryers altogether.

    7. If this is not an option, put up a sign asking your patrons to consider autistic customers when using the hand-dryers.

    8. If you run a business that has staff uniforms, consider making sure that they are not too bright or patterned.

    9. Consider providing ear-defenders or headphones for your customers, particularly if you have noisy equipment that is used at unpredictable times.

    Boy after a meltdown by Someone's Mum
    1. If you are a council or contractor carrying out noisy work in an area, put up notices, just like when road works are planned.

    2. If you are an employer, consider how you can get more autistic people into your workforce and help support them. These resources from the NAS are a good starting point.

    3. If you are running a church or other place or religious worship that uses bells or any other call to worship, have the times and dates publicly displayed on your outside noticeboard.

    4. Do not ask children to look at you when you are speaking to them.

    5. If you are running an event, have an alternative to wristbands or stamps for entry.

    6. If you run a restaurant or cafe, display planned changes to your menu well in advance.

    7. If you run out of a dish for the day, display this clearly or put notes in your menus.

    8. If you are involved in the planning of playgrounds, consider fencing them in.

    9. If you are trying to communicate with an autistic child, do not expect them to enter your world – you must enter theirs. Use their special interest, or the activity they are currently doing, to engage them, even if it seems strange to you.

    10. If you are involved in the planning of public bathrooms, consider larger changing tables, or, better yet, a Changing Places toilet.

    11. Do not try to second-guess what someone is trying to say or hurry them along if they stammer, or have language processing issues.

    12. Give time for processing. Wait the time you think is reasonable for an answer, then add ten seconds if needed.

    13. Do not repeat requests with different phrasing – many autistic people will take longer to process if you keep changing word order or phrasing.

    14. Do not ask too many questions.

    15. If an autistic adult or child seems to struggle to answer your questions, make them less open-ended or give options.

    16. Learn about visual supports that can help communication (timetables, social stories, symbols) and consider using them, especially if you may encounter autistic individuals in settings like schools and hospitals.

    17. Ask an autistic person if there is anything you can change to help them.

    18. Accept behaviour that you may find quirky or strange wholeheartedly and without judgement.

    19. Teach your children to do the same.

    20. If you are a public establishment like a library, have your rules and policies written up and a sign saying they are readily available for people to read. Some autistic people need to know the rules to feel comfortable.

    21. If you run any building open to the public, have a poster or suggestion box to let people know you are open to accommodating personal needs.

    22. Some autistic people use Augmented or Alternative forms of communication (AAC). Do not assume that lack of speech equals lack of understanding.

    23. Do not speak while an autistic person is typing to communicate using AAC.

    24. If you run a business that sells food, make sure your descriptions of menu items are detailed and accurate.

    25. Use literal language.

    26. If you use idioms, similes, metaphors or sarcasm, consider that they may be a source or confusion or anxiety for an autistic person.

    Examples of idiom and metaphor
    1. Do not touch people without warning or permission.

    2. Understand that some autistic individuals do not enjoy physical gestures such as hugs or pats on the back. In fact, this can lead to them feeling very uncomfortable or anxious. Concern and kindness can be shown in other ways, such as verbal praise or rewards.

    3. Keep inviting autistic adults and children to places, even if they or their parents say they cannot come.

    4. Let an autistic child come to a birthday party early, so that they have time to acclimatise to the noise and new people. Thanks to

    5. If you invite an autistic child or adult to a social event, let them know exactly what is planned. And stick to it.

    6. If an autistic person of any age seems to react aggressively or rudely, consider that anxiety may be causing a problem and ask them/consider what may be the trigger.

    7. Let an autistic child leave a party early – give their parent their party bag in advance and let them know they can leave if they need to at any point.

    8. Have an area/table/section in your establishment with less decoration/sensory stimulation.

    9. If your run a hairdressers or barbers, have a designated time when you will not use noisy equipment like clippers and hair dryers.

    10. Remember that repetitive behaviours are often coping mechanisms and so they should always be respected.

    11. Do not talk too much – be aware that too much information may be overwhelming.

    12. If an autistic person seems to talk too much, keep listening.

    13. Do not force communication – take the autistic person’s lead.

    14. Give frequent warnings/reminders about changes in routine or upcoming events.

    15. Think very carefully before you tell an autistic person that something is definitely happening. Do not tell them it is if there is a chance it isn’t. Thanks to

    16. If you have autistic children or adults living nearby, drop them a note to let them know in advance when you will be doing noisy tasks like mowing the lawn.

    17. If you run a school, provide a quiet area to escape to and allow children to go there if they need to get away.

    18. If you have an autistic person visiting, for any reason, provide a quiet space where they can go if they need to.

    19. If you see an older child in a push chair, do not assume that they or their parents are lazy – some children with autism use push chairs in order to help with sensory and anxiety issues.

    20. If you have an autistic child or adult visiting you, in a personal or professional capacity, respect and accommodate their routines.

    21. Educate yourself about ableism.

    22. Do not ask people to remove or keep on items of clothing (within reason!) if it makes them uncomfortable.

    23. If you work in an establishment that plans irregular events, put notices up to let your general customers know in advance that it will be busier while those events are running.

    24. Explain routines in short clear steps. For example: In a medical exam the doctor should explain each step of the examination before going ahead.

    25. Warning for change is always important. Even if you have someone with autism visit your house and you’ve moved a piece of furniture in your living room, explain that before entering the living room.

    26. Educate yourself on stimming behaviours. Don’t overreact to them.

    27. Unless they are endangering themselves and/or others, never ask an autistic person to stop stimming.

    28. Educate yourself on self-injury behaviours. Know how to react appropriately when this occurs.

    29. If you run a school, doctor’s surgery, hospital or any other public service, make sure than your staff have adequate autism training.

    30. If you run a group or club for young people, consider how you can make adjustments so that autistic young people can attend and feel safe and included.

    31. Follow some great Autism Awareness pages on Facebook, such as H2au: The Stuff of Our Life

    32. Read some great articles by autistic adults, for example Autistic Not Weird.

    33. Learn about the terms neurotypical and neurodiversity.

    34. Teach your children about neurodiversity and about how it is okay to think differently.

    35. If your children are very young, use age-appropriate language to explain some behaviours they may see from autistic children attending their nursery or childcare setting. You can find some ways to do that here.

    36. Learn the difference between a tantrum and an autistic meltdown and use the terms correctly.

    37. Educate yourself about autistic shutdowns

    38. Learn about autistic burnout.

    39. Ask an autistic person or their parent about the routines they follow and try to help accommodate them.

    40. If someone tells you they are autistic, or that their child is autistic, do not say that you are sorry.

    41. If you see a child having a meltdown in public, do not tut or make comment.

    42. You could ask the adult dealing with them if they need help though.

    43. If you run a website for a business or any other place that people visit, make sure you have a gallery of images that show each area of the site. This can be invaluable in helping autistic individuals feel less anxious about visiting new places.

    44. Understand that many tasks that are straightforward for neurotypical people can take a huge amount of effort for autistic people. Educate yourself about Spoon Theory and help an autistic person keep/replenish their spoons.

    45. If you know you are going to be meeting an autistic child in a professional or personal capacity, consider sending them a picture of yourself beforehand so that they can get used to what you look like.

    46. If a child or adult has food and texture aversions, realise that they may not “eat when they are hungry”

    47. Ask autistic individuals or the families of autistic children if there are any brands or everyday foods and items that they must have, particularly if they are visiting you.

    48. Respect how an autistic person likes to refer to their autism.

    49. Do not assume that an autistic child is bad, or that their behaviour is bad.

    50. If you are in contact with an autistic child who is non-verbal,  find other non-verbal ways of interacting with them.

    51. Focus on an autistic person’s strengths and talents and praise them for them.

    52. If you buy an autistic child or adult a gift and they do not react in the way you expect, try not to feel offended

    53. If you are considering any of these ways to support autistic children and adults and want advice as to how to proceed, ask an autistic person for their views or help.

    54. Do not judge other people’s parenting.

    55. Remember that autistic individuals are just as diverse and different as any other member of the community.

    56. If someone is behaving in a way you do not understand or feel is inappropriate, do not make any assumptions about the reasons for their behaviour.

    57. When this happens, do not stare.

    58. Teach your children about some of the differences above and make sure that they know that being different is okay.

    59. If you think that implementing these changes would be unreasonable or that autistic people should have to learn to cope in a neurotypical world without adjustments, consider if that would be true if autistic individuals outnumbered neurotypical individuals.

      And then refer to number 62 on this list.

    I hope that you find these ways to support autistic children and adults helpful. Please share, print out, pass on. Do everything you can to make sure this information gets to people who can really make a difference to the lives of autistic people on Autism Awareness Day this year.

    Developmental Monitoring and Screening

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    Developmental Monitoring

    Download CDC’s free Milestone Tracker App

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    Developmental monitoring observes how your child grows and changes over time and whether your child meets the typical developmental milestones in playing, learning, speaking, behaving, and moving. Parents, grandparents, early childhood providers, and other caregivers can participate in developmental monitoring. You can use a brief checklist of milestones to see how your child is developing. If you notice that your child is not meeting milestones, talk with your doctor or nurse about your concerns.

    When you take your child to a well visit, your doctor or nurse will also do developmental monitoring. The doctor or nurse might ask you questions about your child’s development or will talk and play with your child to see if he or she is developing and meeting milestones. A missed milestone could be a sign of a problem, so the doctor or another specialist will take a closer look by using a more thorough test or exam.

    Your childcare provider can also be a valuable source of information on how your child develops. More information on developmental monitoring for early childhood educators.

    Developmental Screening

    Physical Developmental Delays:
    What to look for

    Child has trouble getting up animation

    Developmental screening takes a closer look at how your child is developing. Your child will get a brief test, or you will complete a questionnaire about your child. The tools used for developmental and behavioral screening are formal questionnaires or checklists based on research that ask questions about a child’s development, including language, movement, thinking, behavior, and emotions. Developmental screening can be done by a doctor or nurse, but also by other professionals in healthcare, early childhood education, community, or school settings.

    Developmental screening is more formal than developmental monitoring and normally done less often than developmental monitoring. Your child should be screened if you or your doctor have a concern. However, developmental screening is a regular part of some of the well-child visits for all children even if there is not a known concern.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends developmental and behavioral screening for all children during regular well-child visits at these ages:1

    • 9 months

    • 18 months

    • 30 months

    In addition, AAP recommends that all children be screened specifically for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during regular well-child visits at:

    •  18 months

    •  24 months

    If your child is at higher risk for developmental concerns due to preterm birth, low birthweight, environmental risks like lead exposure, or other factors, your healthcare provider may also discuss additional screening. If a child has an existing long-lasting health concern or a diagnosed condition, the child should have developmental monitoring and screening in all areas of development, just like those without special healthcare needs.

    If your child’s healthcare provider does not periodically check your child with a developmental screening test, you can ask that it be done.

    Fact Sheet on Developmental Monitoring and Screening

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    View and print a fact sheet [657 KB, 2 Pages, Print Only]

    Developmental Evaluation

    A brief test using a screening tool does not provide a diagnosis, but it indicates if a child is on the right development track or if a specialist should take a closer look. If the screening tool identifies an area of concern, a formal developmental evaluation may be needed. This formal evaluation is a more in-depth look at a child’s development, usually done by a trained specialist, such as a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or other specialist. The specialist may observe the child, give the child a structured test, ask the parents or caregivers questions, or ask them to fill out questionnaires. The results of this formal evaluation determines whether a child needs special treatments or early intervention services or both.

    Developmental Monitoring

    WHO:     You — parents, grandparents, other caregivers

    WHAT:   Look for developmental milestones

    WHEN:   From birth to 5 years

    WHY:      To help you

    • celebrate your child’s development

    • talk about your child’s progress with doctors and childcare providers

    • learn what to expect next

    • identify any concerns early

    HOW:     With easy, free checklists – get yours at

    Developmental Screening

    WHO:     Healthcare provider, early childhood teacher, or other trained provider

    WHAT:   Look for developmental milestones


    • Developmental Screening at 9, 18, 30 months of age

    • Autism Screening at 18 and 24 months of age

    WHY:      To find out

    • if your child needs more help with development, because it is not always obvious to doctors, childcare providers, or parents

    • if more developmental evaluation are recommended

    HOW:     With a formal, validated screening tool – learn more

    Developmental Evaluation

    WHO:     Developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or other trained provider

    WHAT:   Identify and diagnose developmental delays and conditions

    WHEN:   Whenever there is a concern

    WHY:      To find out

    • if your child needs specific treatment

    • if your child qualifies for early intervention

    HOW:     With a detailed examination, formal assessment tools, observation, and surveys from parents and other caregivers, often in combination, depending on the area of concern

    Why It’s Important

    Many children with developmental delays or behavior concerns are not identified as early as possible. As a result, these children must wait to get the help they need to do well in social and educational settings (for example, in school, at home, and in the community).

    In the United States, about 1 in 6 children aged 3 to 17 years have one or more developmental or behavioral disabilities, such as autism, a learning disorder, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder2. In addition, many children have delays in language or other areas that can affect how well they do in school. However, many children with developmental disabilities are not identified until they are in school, by which time significant delays might have occurred and opportunities for treatment might have been missed.

    Services for Children with Developmental Disabilities

    Research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development.

    • Early intervention services can help children from birth through 3 years of age (36 months) learn important skills.

    • For children age 3 and older with an identified developmental delay or disability, special education services may be provided.

    Services can include a variety of options, depending on the child’s need, such as therapy to help the child talk, move and walk, learn, and interact with others.

    Child Find programs are provided by each state to evaluate and identify children who need special education services.  Early intervention programs can provide services from birth to 3 years of age. Local public school systems can provide the needed services and support for children age 3 years and older. Children can access some services even if they do not attend public school.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children with a diagnosed disability should get special education services. IDEA says that children younger than 3 years of age who are at risk of having developmental delays might be eligible for early intervention treatment services even if the child has not received a formal diagnosis. Treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, may not require a formal diagnosis.

    Although early intervention is extremely important, intervention at any age can be helpful. It is best to get an evaluation early so that any needed interventions can get started. When parents are concerned about a child’s development, it can be very challenging for them to figure out the right steps to take. States have created parent centers. These centers help families learn how and where to have their children evaluated and how to find services. For information about services in your state, you can access your state’s parent center.

    Links to Other Websites

    “Learn the Signs. Act Early.”
    This CDC program offers free milestone checklists to help parents and professionals track children’s milestones, support development, share concerns, and take action to support developmental delays.

    Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
    Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them.

    Overview of Early Intervention
    Learn more about early intervention services from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.

    Bright Futures
    Bright Futures materials for families are available on a wide range of mental, physical, and emotional health issues in children from before birth through 21 years of age.

    Signs of autism in babies

    Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder, which means that signs become apparent as a child does not develop as expected, for example developing speech or learning to crawl later than expected.

    As such, there are few signs of autism that are noticeable in newborns. However, if a baby fails to reach the developmental milestones expected at two months old, four months old, six months old, nine months old and a year old, this could be one of the first signs of autism or another developmental condition.

    Good to know: Not all babies reach developmental milestones at the exact same time. It is normal to have some variation in development. If in doubt about a childââ¬â¢s development, check with a doctor.

    Some of the early signs that a baby under one year old may have autism spectrum disorder include:

    • Not babbling by four months old

    • Not smiling by five months old

    • Not laughing by six months old

    • No interest in games like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo by eight months old

    • Not responding to their name by 12 months old

    • Not looking at objects pointed out by other people by 12 months old

    • Being upset by loud noises

    • Not looking to a parent for comfort in new situations

    • Being happy to play alone for long periods of time

    • Not making eye contact

    Signs of autism in toddlers

    Some of the signs that a toddler, between one year old and two years old, may have autism spectrum disorder include:

    The Importance Of Early Diagnosis

    Autism Infographic

    The American Academy of Pediatrics joins with the CDC in recommending screening at a young age to ensure early intervention and better developmental outcomes. In the U.S., the majority of autism costs are for adult rather than child services . With early diagnosis and treatment, the cost of care over a lifetime can be reduced by two-thirds.

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