Early symptoms of autism

Autism is a severe developmental disorder that affects the way a child sees and interacts with the rest of the world. It limits their ability to interact with others socially, in fact many autism suffers avoid human contact. Autism is part of a larger group of disorders called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
Symptoms at an early stage

The advanced research tells us that it may be possible to see early signs of autism by reading the language of movement. The study followed the head growth patterns of babies and found a significant difference between those who would later be diagnosed with autism and their healthy peers. It had been known that by the time children are diagnosed with autism, they tend to have larger than average heads. But when did this happen? It could be before, during, or after the symptoms developed? A careful look has found that babies with autism tend to have smaller than average heads at birth. Then, sometime between 1-2 months old and 6-14 months old, there is an abnormally rapid period of head growth. This striking pattern could provide a nice early screening for autism. It appears to occur in the great majority of those with autism, but also in up to 6 percent of healthy children. Early identification of those at high risk could result in treatment two or three years earlier than currently possible. When PKU treatment was moved up by newborn screening, the improved results were dramatic. This observation about head growth in autism may open the door to more precise diagnosis and treatment than ever before.

Infants and toddlers who exhibit the hallmark features of this disorder should be referred to a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in the assessment of children with autism. If the practitioner is irresolute of the need for evaluation, the CHAT is a quick and reliable screening tool to document if the child is "high risk" for autism. With the increased awareness of this disorder and greater vigilance in the infant and toddler population, more preschool children with autism will receive appropriate evaluation, diagnosis and treatment at an earlier age.

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