Autism spectrum disorder, abbreviated as ASD, is a developmental disability that affects the way people behave, interact or communicate with others. The signs and symptoms may differ among children and so does its effects. There is no single cause and symptom and it can be very mild or very severe. Though some children start showing signs when they are just a few months old, others may not show until a few years of life. However, certain development delays at different stages of a child’s life may indicate the possibility of autism and warrant immediate medical intervention. So here are those red flags that parents need to keep a check on.
Delayed Social Skills
The kids on this spectrum might show the following social symptoms between 8 to 10 months of the age:
- Cannot respond to their names until they turn 1
- Do not seem interested in playing, talking, sharing and interacting with others
- Prefer to be aloof
- They resist or avoid physical contact and eye contact
- They do not like to be comforted when upset
- Cannot understand emotions, whether of others or their own.
- They may not stretch their arms to be picked up or when guided to walk
Problem in Communicating
Most autistic children may not talk at all while a few others may initially talk but lose this skill as they grow. Some might even get better with their growth. However, certain issues in communication may strongly point to the problem:
- Delayed speech and language skills
- Repeating the same phrase over and over (Echolalia)
- Flat, robotic voice, or singsong voice
- Cannot stick on the topic when talking or answering questions
- Unable to recognize joke or sarcasm
- Rarely using common gestures like pointing or waving or not using these gestures at all
- Problems with pronouns, for example, saying “you” instead of “I”
Abnormal Behavioral Pattern
Autistic children may exhibit behaviours which may not seem normal. These include:
- Extreme aggressive behaviour both with others or self
- Extremely sensitive to touch, sound, and light
- Fixations on certain objects or activities
- Fussy eating habits
- Highly impulsive – not thinking before acting
- Hyper activities such as constant moving (pacing)
- Lack of coordination
- Not participating in “make-believe” play or imitating others
- Repetitive hand-flapping, jumping, rocking, or twirling
- Short attention span
- Sticking on to certain specific routines or rituals and getting upset even with a slight change in routine
Some delays or abnormal behaviours might be a temporary display or may be due to some other problem and so, in case, you notice anything which seems alarming, you must take your child to the paediatrician immediately. The doctor will suggest some tests before he can make any diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, he would suggest treatment, therapies, and medication. Since treatment can be exhaustive and take a few months to years, waiting in the never-ending queues every time on the medical shop could be frustrating. Ordering prescription drugs online can save a lot of your time and efforts.
What should you do as a Parent of an Autistic Child?
It is very challenging for you as a parent to make everything casual and natural for your autistic child. But apart from medical care, you have got a big role to play for your child. Here are a few things, you have to do to make things easier for your child.
Get your child out in the community. No matter how exhausted you are or how much pre-occupied with thoughts of how people will react, keep taking your child out. This will help him deal with varying situations and face the unknown.
Join the parent group and make some valuable connections. It will help keep yourself motivated and learn new life skills that can benefit your child.
Get a babysitter or caretaker at home. Your contribution is important, but you also need a break from this exhaustive routine. So, get some time for yourself, sleep, take rest and reenergize to be with your child in the best of your forms.
Pick issues and prioritize training. If you are all set and all the arrangements have been made, it is time to pick a specific agenda for yourself, like sleeping routine of your child, eating habit, or potty training. Take one task at a time and train your child in that particular thing.
Educate your family and friends. All your close people should know what phase you are passing through so that their expectations are set accordingly. If they wish, they can also extend support to you. It will happen only when they are aware of what it is to bring up an autistic child.
Along with all the personal efforts you are making, take care of your financials as well. Treatment and care of an autistic child are really expensive. The drugs for autism could cost you more if you buy them locally, but if you buy medicines online you can get good discounts on the same drugs. Lastly, if you buy meds online, you can also gain the benefit of getting them delivered at your doorstep.
An autistic child can get better with early detection of the symptoms and timely medical intervention.