Signs of autism in young children


Introduction
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 a part of a larger group of disorders named as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
Signs of autism in young children
Signs of autism in young children might appear during infancy and the disorder is usually diagnosed by the age of 3 years. Sometimes the child's development appears normal until 2 years old and then regresses quickly. Symptoms of autism occur in various combinations, it could even lead from mild to severe.
Infants with the disorder often display some irregular reactions to sensory stimuli (i.e., senses may be over- or underactive). Touches may be experienced as hurting, smells may be overwhelmingly unpleasant, and ordinary daily noises may be painful. Loud noises (e.g., motorcycle going by, vacuum cleaner) and bright lights may lead to inconsolable crying.
Other signs of the disorder in young children include the following:
Shows unresponsive to surroundings
Shows substance to be alone, happier to play alone
Exhibits lack of interest in toys
Displays lack of response to others
Discernible decrease or increase in activity level
Resists cuddling
Young children with autism usually have impaired language development. They often have difficulty expressing needs (i.e., use gestures instead of words) and may laugh, cry, or show distress for unknown reasons. Some autistic patients develop elementary language skills that do not serve as an effective form of communication. They may develop abnormal patterns of speech that lack intonation and expression and may repeat words or phrases repetitively which are better known as echolalia.
Autistic children do not show interest in other people and often prefer to be alone. They may resist changes in their routine, repeat actions (e.g., turn in circles, flap their arms) over and over, and engage in self-injurious behavior (e.g., bite or scratch themselves, bang their head).
Conclusion
Young children who display the hallmark features of this disorder should be referred to a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in the assessment of children with autism. With the increased knowledge 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 a young age.

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