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How Do I Know If My Child Has Autism?

You might ask, how do I know if my child has autism? As a parent, you are constantly monitoring and supervising your child. You celebrate accomplishments and make sure they are meeting their developmental milestones. But what happens when you notice your child is not meeting milestones? What do you do if you notice signs and characteristics of autism? How do you respond if you suspect your child could have autism?

Mother wondering if her child has autism or if he's meeting his milestones

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism presents differently in each individual that is diagnosed. It is a developmental disability that impairs communication, behavior, and socialization. Because it is a spectrum disorder, individuals diagnosed with autism can have varying levels of abilities and skills in each of the three main areas impacted by the diagnosis.

There are some signs and symptoms to be aware of when trying to see if your child might have autism and may need to go to a diagnosing professional for an evaluation. Culture and family dynamics should also be considered. Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for based on the CDC are :
• Not responding to their name
• Not engaging with others or preferring to be alone
• Not pointing to or looking at items others are pointing to
• Unaware of or not interested in the environment
• Difficulty understanding and/or expressing feelings
• Difficulty adapting to changes
• Engaging in repetitive actions or behaviors

child is not interested in playing with airplane. not engaged with others

If you do feel your child is not meeting milestones and is displaying signs, symptoms, and characteristics of autism, it is important to follow up with a diagnosing professional. You can start by taking your child to their primary care physician (PCP) and letting them know your concerns. Your PCP can provide further guidance as to what to do and how to follow up.

It is important to note that autism can be diagnosed at later ages, too. Autism can look different in older children, teens, and adults. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information on diagnosing older individuals.

mother talking to her child's primary care physician (PCP)

At Shaping Change, we are here to assist you and your family after a diagnosis of autism. Give us a call for a complimentary consultation. We offer individualized care to ensure each patient is getting the right care and treatment.

References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). Learn the Signs. Act Early. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html

National Institute of Mental Health (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtm

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