Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the most diagnosed developmental disorders. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls and 1 in 59 American children are on the autism spectrum.” According to Dr Rebecca Landa, director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md., “Parents need to be empowered to identify the warning signs of ASD.” Identification of these early signs can lead to early intervention.
1. Your child does not respond to their name-This is one of the earliest strong warning signs of ASD. Research suggests that this behavior is linked to language challenges, including delayed language skills, that often accompany autism.
2. Repetitive motions-Self-stimulatory behavior helps autistic children calm themselves or regulate their emotional states.
3. Avoiding eye contact-Making eye contact with others can cause extreme distress and be very uncomfortable for them.
4. Delays in learning speech- ASD is a neurological disorder that affects communication skills that make social connection more difficult.
5. Repeating words or phrases- A child with ASD has difficulty coming up with their own language, so they will copy words or phrases heard around them.
6. Getting upset by minor changes-A child with ASD becomes distressed and anxious when their routines are changed.
7. Lack imitation behavior-Children with ASD do not have a natural learning process. They cannot learn behaviors with their own experiences
Identifying the red flag behaviors can help you get an early diagnosis and treatment. If you have concerns speak with your doctor. We have created an easy to-use early screener. The PDQ-1 Psychological Developmental Questionnaire -1.
This tool is extremely useful to help a family take the vital first step toward a definitive diagnosis. If a positive diagnosis of ASD is made there are plenty of resources and treatment organizations to help. Projects that NAI supports are Basket Full of Learning, Calling for Campers and Project Organization.
This article is by: Kim Gillespie. Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Twenty-seven years ago, Kim started her nursing career at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, working on an acute care floor for eight years. Children's Hospital paid for Kim to receive her Bachelor's Degree and achieve the title of Cum Laude, which enabled Kim to accept a position as a Case Manager for two years. Kim started her Aesthetics Nurse career in 2006 and has worked for the last seventeen years. Kim enrolled in a Freelance Nurse Writing program in December 2022. This article is Kim's first published blog.