When in doubt, consulting a qualified healthcare expert is the best way to ensure that your child’s development is on the right track. But in the meanwhile, here are seven early signs of autism to watch out for:
- Limited or no eye contact: This is a common early sign of autism. If your child struggles to establish and continue eye contact or is indifferent in social settings, take note. Eye contact ideally develops within the first few months of being an infant.
- Repetitive behaviors or specific interests: If you notice repetitive behaviors, for example, rocking, hand-flapping or lining up toys, it could be a sign of autism. The other common signs are an intense focus in specific topics and an obsession with routines or rituals.
- Resistance to changes in routine: Predictability and familiarity are what make a child with autism feel at ease. So be prepared if your child is not warming up to a new routine or acting out, no matter how small the change. The intense emotional reaction is his/her way of venting.
- Slow speech development: A delay in speech or difficulty in picking up language skills are signs that your child may be on the autism spectrum. Also, watch out for repetition of words/ phrases (echolalia) without understanding what they mean.
- Absence of imaginative/pretend play: Children with autism may play in a repetitive manner or without using their imagination. This is a sign of their resorting to the sameness that children with autism take refuge in.
- Indifferent to social interactions: Social interactions are a nightmare for children with autism. Lack of response, indifference to sharing and turn-taking are signs to watch out for in such situations.
- Extreme sensory sensitivities: How your child reacts to sensory stimuli is a telling sign of whether he/she has autism. Note if they are overly sensitive or under-responsive when exposed to light, sound, or even varying textures of clothing. Some children may be engrossed in the experience while others completely averse.
A comprehensive evaluation by a behavior analyst or an autism treatment center in UAE is essential to reach a diagnosis. Remember that early intervention and the necessary support required are key to making a remarkable difference if at all your child is on the autism spectrum.
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Read this also: The Power of Parents in Autism Intervention