Jump to content

Autism/ASD: Recognizing Early Warning Signs In Young Children


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 baddmammajamma

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:16 AM

Hi Fellow EB Mums:

I have shared this information below in various forms on EB, but I am targeting this particularly board in an effort to raise general awareness of the early warning signs/potential red flags for autism. As some of you know, my now 8-year-old daughter has an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) that was detected when she was relatively young. As a result, she was able to take advantage of some really great early intervention.

When I first started worrying that something was slightlyatypical about my daughter's development, autism never even entered into my mind. I mistakenly believed that because she made eye contact, enjoyed playing with me, and smiled -- not to mention that she was a girl! -- there was no way that we had to be worried about autism.

What I didn't realize at the time is that ASD comes in so many different shades. It's called a spectrum because the blend of symptoms, and the degree to which they affect a person, can vary dramatically. What people with ASD share are (varying degrees of):

* Differences in communication and social interaction (use of verbal and non-verbal communication; relating to other people and sharing emotions)

* Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities

Quite often, people on the autism spectrum also have significant sensory sensitivities (hypo and/or hyper sensitive).

Looking back, we actually had plenty of early warning signs with our daughter when she was a baby and toddler. At the same time I had these niggling concerns, I was surrounded by friends, family & even some medical professionals assuring me that she was just "quirky," "gifted," and "developing at her own speed."  

Nobody encouraged me to explore my concerns further, and to be honest, I didn't WANT to learn that something was wrong, so I stayed away from any resources that might have pointed me in the right direction. Thankfully, I had two very ballsy and informed friends who batted me over the head and encouraged me to seek the guidance of a specialist.

For any of you who have niggling concerns about your own child, but need a gentle nudge to act upon them, I hope that this message will encourage you to take action. If you click on the link in my signature, you will see why I am so passionate about this cause.

RED FLAGS FOR ASD

Young children (baby/toddler stage)


The child:

* doesn't consistently respond to her name
* doesn't smile at caregivers
* doesn't use gestures independently -- for example, she doesn't wave bye-bye without being told to, or without copying someone else who is waving
* doesn't show interest in other children
* doesn't enjoy or engage in games such as peek-a-boo or patty cake.


Communication

The child:

* doesn't use gestures to get needs met -- for example, she doesn't raise her arms when she wants to be picked up or reach out to something that she wants
* doesn't use eye contact to get someone's attention or communicate -- for example, she doesn't look at a parent and then look at a snack to indicate she wants the snack
* doesn't point to show people things, to share an experience or to request or indicate that she wants something -- for example, when she's being read to, she doesn't point to pictures in books and look back to show the reader
* doesn't engage in pretend play -- for example, she doesn't feed her baby doll
* doesn't sound like she's having a conversation with you when she babbles
* doesn't understand simple one-step instructions - for example, "Give the block to me" or "Show me the dog."


Behavior

The child:

* has an intense interest in certain objects and becomes ‘stuck’ on particular toys or objects
* focuses narrowly on objects and activities such as turning the wheels of a toy car or lining up objects
* is easily upset by change and must follow routines – for example, sleeping, feeding or leaving the house must be done in the same way every time
* repeats body movements or has unusual body movements such as back-arching, hand-flapping and walking on toes.

Sensory


The child:

* is extremely sensitive to sensory experiences -- for example, she is easily upset by certain sounds, or will only eat foods with a certain texture
*seeks sensory stimulation -- for example, she likes deep pressure, seeks vibrating objects like the washing machine, or flutters fingers to the side of her eyes to watch the light flicker.


To learn more about very early warning signs and the importance of early intervention, check out this terrific site:



Signs of possible ASD in Preschoolers

With some children, the red flags might not become entirely obvious until they reach preschool (or even school age), when suddenly the developmental gap between them and their peers becomes more pronounced.  Some of the more common characteristics of ASD in pre-schoolers include (note: list is simply representative, not exhaustive. Also, a child with ASD may not display all of the signs on this list. Mine sure didn't!):


*Unusual responses to other people. A child may show no desire to be cuddled, have a strong preference for familiar people and may appear to treat people as objects rather than a source of comfort.

* The child tends not to look directly at other people in a social way. This is sometimes referred to as a lack of eye contact (may also look at people and things from the corner of their eyes)

* There may be constant crying or there may be an unusual absence of crying.

*  The child often has marked repetitive movements, such as hand-shaking or flapping, prolonged rocking or spinning of objects.

* Many children develop an obsessive interest in certain toys or objects while ignoring other things. A common obsession might include a fixation on numbers, letters & symbols (e.g. memorizing letter plates).

* The child may have extreme resistance to change in routines and/or their environment (e.g. must take the same driving route every day; must use exact same dish every day)

* The child may appear to avoid social situations with peers, preferring to be alone.

* There is limited development of play activities, particularly imaginative play.

* The child may have sleeping problems.

* Food problems. The child can be resistant to solid foods or may not accept a variety of foods in their diet.

* There may be an absence of speech, or unusual speech patterns such as repeating words and phrases (echolalia), failure to use 'I', 'me', and 'you', or reversal of these pronouns. A child might have early words but only speak about a very, very narrow range of topics (i.e. "little professor").

* There are often difficulties with toilet training.

* The child generally does not point to or share observations or experiences with others.

*The child may be extremely distressed by certain noises and/or busy public places such as shopping centers.


WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS

If you have concerns that your child might have ASD, the next step should be getting professional guidance. You can also ask your MCHN or GP to do a relatively simple "developmental screen" to see if there are any potential issues. If your child attends day care or preschool/kinder, it can be valuable to ask carers/teachers what they have observed about your child as well.

Note: While talking to your GP can be a good place to start, please be aware that not all general practitioners are up-to-speed on ASD (some are, some aren't). All the more reason for you to arm yourself with good information!

In younger children, the diagnosis process almost always involves a specialist medical doctor (paed, developmental paed, or psychiatrist) or a panel approach that includes one. Your GP can refer you to one of these professionals.

For more specific information for how to get an ASD assessment in your state or territory, check out:
http://www.essential...smentdiagnosis/

There are also some terrific on line resources to help guide parents. Two particularly valuable ones in Australia are:

http://raisingchildr...sm_landing.html

www.autismawareness.com.au

(includes state-by-state directory of professionals who are well versed in ASD)

Additionally, the mums who are active on the Special Needs/Disabilities board are very supportive and happy to share recommendations of great "ASD-savvy" professionals (via PM, because we aren't allowed to make explicit recommendations on the board), provide information, or answer questions. Your child doesn't have to have a diagnosis of anything for you to voice your concerns or ask questions.

(I am in Sydney and am always happy to pass along my suggestions of ASD professionals in this area).

Thank you for taking the time to read this message!

BMJ

Edited by baddmammajamma, 06 April 2014 - 11:34 AM.


#2 ivelsfancy

Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:25 AM

Hi baddmammajamma,

I don't belong in this section yet, But I just want to say thank you so much for posting this information it is so hard to decipher information sometimes and having some one with experience point you in the right direction really helps. I had some concerns about my daughter a while ago and it now seems that those concerns were probably reaction to food intolerance's. however I am going to print this out in case her concerning behavior returns. I really appreciate your encouragement to go with your instincts.....sometime that is so discounted so its nice to have it affirmed original.gif.

Thanks again! hope your DD continues to thrive!

#3 stefnie34

Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

QUOTE (baddmammajamma @ 24/10/2010, 11:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
* Take action. It is a misnomer that you need an official diagnosis to start early intervention. For instance, if your child is struggling with speech, you don't need an official diagnosis of ASD to go to a speech therapist for help.

yyes.gif

My dd was finally diagnosed with PDD-NOS (an Austism Spectrum Disorder) last week, but she has been receiving Early Intervention for almost 3 years now. Our first concerns were before she was 18 months old. It scares me to think where she'd be today if we had decided to wait for a diagnosis before taking action.

I'm also happy to help, PM me any time if you have questions original.gif

#4 ziggy72

Posted 24 October 2010 - 08:16 PM

This is a fantastic post. It is so useful that I think all should read it. I know many of these signs myself, but the refresher was so helpful, as we forget what kids are menat to be up to at what age.

So often I read posts about concerns parents have and well meaning parents reply to reassure the OP that all will work out in the end, all kids develop at different rates etc. As much as this may be true, the reality is, that is not always true.

Be up front about the red flags, or early warning signs, may not be what people want to hear, when they are worried, but if it helps someone to go and talk about their concerns with  professional, then I think it is worth mentioning.



#5 MitchNme

Posted 24 October 2010 - 08:44 PM

Thanks for sharing OP. My DS is 2yrs 7months, and I have always known there was something that wasnt quite right with him. Everyone would always try to reassure me that he was fine, and he would do things in his own time, but I think mothers instincts are very powerful, and we do know our children better then anyone else. He has been having therapy for the last 6 months while we are slowly moving up the EI waitlist, and although all his therapists and carers believed he was on the Autism Spectrum, my Paed wanted to give him a chance and see if everything would suddenly click for him. It didnt, and we finally recieved a diagnosis last week, so although it was hard to hear it officially, I was already prepared for it. Now we can start more intensive therapy with some extra funding, and hopefully give him the best start before he hits school age.

I whole heartedly agree with baddmammajamma, and trust your instincts and get your child checked out if you think there may be issues. As a school teacher, I see children with ASD start school, and it is not till then that they are first diagnosed, because some parents dont recognise the signs, and others choose to ignore them. It is so much harder for them when they havent had that early help.

#6 seahorse67

Posted 25 October 2010 - 03:05 PM

bub4me: "I whole heartedly agree with baddmammajamma, and trust your instincts and get your child checked out if you think there may be issues. As a school teacher, I see children with ASD start school, and it is not till then that they are first diagnosed, because some parents dont recognise the signs, and others choose to ignore them. It is so much harder for them when they havent had that early help."

Ditto.

#7 baddmammajamma

Posted 25 October 2010 - 10:48 PM

bub4me: I hope we will see you over on the ASD: Below School Age thread (for parents of kids with confirmed or suspected ASD). I'm glad that you have some answers about your son. To be honest, I found the "What if" stage to be far worse than the post-diagnosis stage!

Thank you to those who have written kind things. I felt so alone and overwhelmed when we went through DD's diagnosis that I want to do everything possible to get information out there & let other worried parents know that they are not alone.





#8 AnZ

Posted 26 November 2010 - 10:55 AM

Hi I'm not sure where to post this and because I've come across this post I'm going to do it here and hopefully someone will have some good advice because most people I talk to blow me off etc

My DS3 is a twin and so it's really hard not to compare him to his two brothers especially his twin brother however he has some behavioural problems, weird things he does and a particular smell that's sweetly sickening sometimes...

I'm not sure what to do as my paed said he just has a bad temper (12months old check up)and sometime it might be just a temper tantrum however he is so hard to calm down over the simplest things, he takes everything from his brother, he seems very cheeky and mischevious but he also can be loving at times although he does frown alot too and he just doesn't understand like my other two children have, he also won't touch certain things and is strange about certain noises.  He is a great little kid it's just that he's really different and now my Mother and partner are agreeing with me and we're worried because if he does have autism or something like that we want to do what we can for him while he's young. We don't want to be waiting years and then find out.  We've booked in again to see our paed but can't get in until Feb 11, which isn't that far away so I'll wait but I'm worried about being fobbed off again this time. Anyway just wondering if anyone has a similar story or advice that they'd like to share.

One other thing...He doesn't talk much yet although he is only just over 2 but when he does he chooses the harder words or what I think are harder...

And I'm just reading back over the first post on here, which has a lot of advice so duh...sorry

Cheers K

Edited by AnZ, 26 November 2010 - 10:59 AM.


#9 emily~and~girls

Posted 27 November 2010 - 06:20 PM

Totally off topic but I thought I would just mention that my dad often suffered from excess ketones and as a child I remember knowing he was sick by a sickly sweet smell on his breath and in his body odour.... It dis actially affect his behavior too . Thought I'd just mention it as a note to the post above ..... Feel free to pm me if you want

#10 baddmammajamma

Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:05 PM

Today is my day dedicated to re-visiting and updating the pinned ASD threads, hence the sudden surge in related threads reappearing. Bear with me! original.gif

Edited by baddmammajamma, 23 December 2011 - 02:14 PM.


#11 kh79

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:27 PM

Something I wanted to note as really important is that if you have concerns then to follow your instinct and keep reading.  I foundwith my son reading initial asd checklists it was easy for me to dismiss my concerns because he is so high functioning.  Once i started looking into asd further and how it presents so differently in every child more and more I realized it was something that I needed to explore further.

As it turns out I was right that DS has asd, the great thing in terrible circumstances is that we found out so early and he is now getting some awesome help!

#12 Guest_Lois Griffin_*

Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:18 PM

Bumping to raise awareness!

My contribution: if in doubt stall about your child whether it be ASD related or something else entirely get it checked out. Better to be proactive than worry about niggling concerns.

#13 baddmammajamma

Posted 27 July 2013 - 03:08 PM

Just checking out the new functions plus the pinned threads. Very grateful that this post has received over 11,000 views! Thanks for helping me raise awareness!

#14 baddmammajamma

Posted 25 August 2013 - 10:18 AM

Periodically updating these pinned notes so that they stay fresh & relevant.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

The 15 photos new parents share (and five they don't)

From the first scan photo to the baby covered in cake at their first birthday party, there are 15 photos most parents seem to share - and some they don't.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Breastfeeding friendly caf goes viral

A photo of a breastfeeding-friendly sign in a cafe has been posted to Facebook and shared by hundreds of mums around the world.

First look at the Bugaboo Bee3

The newest Bugaboo Bee ? the Bee3 ? offers a variety of improved features, including a much asked-for bassinet and a rainbow of colour combinations.

Childcare costs, not paid leave, the real issue for parents

Given the choice between maintaining their wage for six months to have a child, or having a reduced rate of pay for a time but a better deal on childcare when returning to work, there are no odds on what most working parents would choose.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

We lost three babies in two years

Our first pregnancy ended the way we all expected it to - with a healthy, happy baby in our arms. What a true blessing he was, for we were not to know the heartache we were about endure.

Family turned back from doomed flight MH17

'There must have been someone watching over us and saying, 'You must not get on that flight,' says mother who narrowly avoided boarding the Malaysian Airlines flight which exploded in mid-air over the Ukraine last night.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Adorable Skeanie loafers for kids

Your little toddler or preschooler can now get their nautical on with a new range of classic loafers by Australian show brand Skeanie.

My baby is hypermobile

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry that Jasmin isn't crawling or walking. This week I heard the term hypermobile for the first time.

When you don?t bond with your baby

They say that there is no bond greater than the bond between a mother and her child. But for some women, the mother-baby bond takes more time and effort to develop.

Yumi Stynes: Having a baby after a 10-year break

After a long break, Yumi Stynes gets a reminder of the pain - and the pleasure - of giving birth.

Grieving father asks for help to Photoshop his daughter's image

When Nathan Steffel's daughter Sophia died from a liver condition at just 6 weeks old, he reached out for someone to create a beautiful image of his little girl.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.