Autism Symptoms In Children: Early Signs

Autism Symptoms In Children | Spot Autism Signs In Your Child Early

Autism symptoms in children: Autism can be diagnosed even before your child is 3 yrs. Learn about the symptoms and their presentation

Autism symptoms in children: Diagnosis

Autism involves delays or abnormal functioning which is usually noticed before the age of 3 years, in the following areas:

  • Social interaction
  • Social communication
  • Repetitive behaviours

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The important goals of assessment include a complete diagnosis of autism that looks at a differential diagnosis, a refined precise documentation of the child’s functioning in various developmental areas and looking for the presence of co-morbid conditions.

A complete diagnosis of autism and categorization in its sub types is important for treatment. Therefore, rigorous assessment is needed.

There is a need to evaluate functioning in:

  • Intellectual abilities both in verbal and performance
  • Social competence
  • Receptive and expressive language skills
  • Social use of language
  • Self-care

As well as other abilities of daily living to place an individual in a broader developmental framework (Cohen & Volkmar 1997).

Autism Symptoms In Children | Spot Autism Signs In Your Child Early

Autism Symptoms In Children

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There is a higher risk of certain co-morbid conditions that can occur with autism. E.g.

  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Fragile X
  • Tuberosclerosis
  • Rett’s Disorder
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Epilepsy

These require to be identified and need clinical attention.

Psychiatric and behavioral difficulties can additionally be seen and may require medication. E.g.

  • Hyperactivity
  • Obsessive-compulsive phenomena
  • Self-injury
  • Stereotype
  • Tics
  • Affective symptoms

During the assessment, a detailed development and health history will be taken especially of the first 3 years of life. Real examples of behaviour like eye contact, response to name, finger points to share attention etc often provide better descriptions (Schopler & Reichler, 1972).

A diagnostic examination should include:

  • Observation of the child during structured and unstructured period
  • Social development
  • Communication
  • Response to environment
  • Play skills
  • Self -awareness
  • Motor behaviors like hand flapping
  • Behaviour problems

Some of the diagnostic instruments that are available are:

  • Childhood Autism Rating Scales (CARS)
  • Autistic Continuum I
  • The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)

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Of these the most thorough tests are ADOS and ADI, which together provide a structured detailed interview and an observation method to assess objectively an individual’s social ability, communication skills, and behaviour.

At the Singhania Clinic Dr. Singhania is certified in conducting ADOS evaluations

Psychological assessment should be done using standardized methods. Nonetheless, minor changes may be needed, because the usual verbal instructions and social reinforcements may be difficult for children with autism to understand.

The results from these tests must be looked at carefully and made clear in the report. Additional tests may be used such as:

  • Munich Functional Developmental Assessment
  • Wechsler’s Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-R 1989)
  • Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV 2004)

These tests may give a good idea of your child’s current developmental level but have poor predictive value and stability over time (Klin et al., 1997).

Children with autism have strengths in visual perceptual tasks like puzzles and weakness in conceptual and reasoning tasks such as the concept of sharing.

Similarly, play, communication, and social-emotional functioning should be assessed using standardized methods.

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Autism symptoms in children: DSM 5 criteria

(American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

A total of six or more manifestation from 1,2 and 3 below:

A. A persistent deficit in social communication and social interaction

1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity-abnormal social approach, failure of normal back and forth conversation, reduced sharing of interest or emotions or affect; failure to initiate or respond to social interaction

2. Deficits in non-verbal communicative behaviours-a poorly integrated verbal and non-verbal communication, abnormal eye contact and body language; deficits in understanding and use of gestures; lack of facial expressions and non-verbal communication.

3. Deficits in developing maintaining and understanding relationships- difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; difficulties of sharing imaginative play or making friends;

B. Restrictive repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities

1. Stereo type or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech. E.g. Echolalia, lining of toys
2. Insistence of sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of verbal or non-verbal behavior
3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus
4. Hyper or hypo-reactive to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment. E.g. indifference to pain, excessive smelling of objects.

Autism Symptoms In Children | Spot Autism Signs In Your Child Early

Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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Autism Symptoms In Children: Early Signs was last modified: March 8th, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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