If you’ve ever asked a young child to, “wait a minute,” they’ll be inquisitive before that minute is up – heck, it might even happen before you’ve finished speaking! The concepts of time and patience are abstract, and difficult to grasp for concrete thinkers. That’s why I used the Crayola Melt ‘N Mold Factory to help teach time and patience to my almost 8 year old son with Autism.
The process of diagnosing Autism in a child can be a little bit difficult for parents at home since it involves a series of observations on a child’s behaviour. Specialists in this field agree that it is best to identify and treat this disorder in children at an early age. Parents are usually concerned about the warning signs to look out for in their babies for them to be concerned. There are particular signs that children who end up with this disorder start exhibiting at a tender age. There are standard Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) indicators which are very common to autistic children.
Indicators of Autism
These indicators include: inability to babble words, point or make a meaningful motion at least by the age of 1 year, inability to speak or pronounce at least a word by 16 months of age, inability to respond to name, loss of language and interactive ability, inability to maintain good eye contact, signs of hearing impairment, inability to play with toys lack or absence of smiles.
According to Autism Canada, all individuals with the diagnosis demonstrate some of the following:
- Impairment in Social relationships
- Deficits in communication/language
- Perseveration on interests and activities
- Dependence on routine
- Abnormal responses to sensory stimulation
- Behaviour problems
- Variability of intellectual functioning
- Uneven development profile
- Difficulties in sleeping, toileting and eating
- Immune irregularities
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Gastrointestinal problems
These signs are not in themselves a confirmation of autism in a child. The signs are meant to be warning signals which a parent should act on if they observe any of it in their child. The next thing to do when any of the indicators mentioned above is observed is to consult your paediatrician or family doctor. With the support of an occupational, speech and physical therapist a doctor will be able to appropriately diagnose the disorder in a child or confirm otherwise.
Strengths Exhibited by People with Autism
Although some areas of development in a child with autism are delayed, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often exhibit skills beyond their years in other areas. These intellectual strengths may overshadow the developmental problems experienced by your child. These strengths may include one or more of the following:
- Non-verbal reasoning skills
- Reading skills
- Perceptual motor skills
- Drawing skills
- Computer interest and skills
- Exceptional memory
- Visual Spatial abilities
- Music skills
For additional information, Autism Canada is a fabulous resource.