The rate of symptoms of autism in all regions of the world is high and has a great impact on the lives of children, their families, communities and society.
Although we commonly call it autism, the official name of this disease is “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”. Because it is not a unique pathology, which is always the same in all patients. It has a wide variety of symptoms, and they vary greatly from child to child. Autism is, therefore, a spectrum of disorders, characterized by severe cognitive developmental deficits. They affect socialization, planning, and emotional reciprocity, and sometimes cause repetitive or unusual behaviors.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are an alteration in the child’s development. These changes are seen since the child is very young. This disorder appears in many different ways, from very mild cases to more serious cases. Statistics say that 1 in 68 children suffer from ASD, a pathology that is five times more frequent in boys than in girls.
Autism symptoms were first described in the 20th century, in the middle of the Second World War, by an American psychiatrist: Leo Kanner in 1943 and an Austrian pediatrician: Hans Asperger in 1944.
Children with ASD generally do not develop language and social skills in the same way as other children their age. As a result, it is difficult for him to relate to other people. Children with ASDs may also have unusual behaviors and learning problems.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Degree of severity of autism symptoms varies greatly. The most severe cases show a complete absence of speech for life and extremely repetitive, unusual, self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. This behavior can persist for a long time and is very difficult to change. Therefore, it is a huge challenge for those who must treat and educate these people. The milder forms of autism can be almost imperceptible and are often confused with shyness, inattention, and eccentricity.
Autism symptoms are a spectrum of disorders characterized by severe developmental deficits. They affect socialization, planning, and emotional reciprocity, and sometimes cause repetitive or unusual behaviors.
The term TEA was first used by Lorna Wing, who in 1988 stated that people located on the spectrum are those who have:
- Disorder in the capacities of social recognition.
- Disorder in social communication skills.
- Repetitive patterns of activity, tendency to routine and difficulties in social imagination.
Symptoms of autism in the child.
To date, one of the biggest difficulties doctors face is a habitual delay in diagnosis. In general, there are certain factors that make early diagnosis difficult, due to the variation of the disorder in each child. With the consequent fear of being wrong. As well as the absence of diagnostic criteria, agreed for very young children (under three years old). Similarly, many pediatric professionals do not have specialized training in these types of symptoms and need more familiarity with diagnostic tools.
Therefore, we will see the development of some symptoms of autism that help us diagnose this disorder.
Disconnection with others
Children with symptoms of autism tend to be distant or disconnected from their loved ones (parents, siblings, etc.). For example, it may seem like they have no emotional connection to these people and don’t understand the difference between facial cues. In other words, children with symptoms of autism often do not react, or do not understand the difference between a person who treats them with a frown or a smile.
The apparent lack of empathy
Another common characteristic of children with symptoms of autism is that they have difficulty empathizing with others. Although lack of empathy can be difficult to detect and assess in infants and young children, there are specific signs that show a lack of empathy.
Children with symptoms of autism seem to have difficulty understanding or appreciating situations from other people’s perspectives. Therefore, this can cause confusion or an inability to understand the actions of others.
They are indifferent to social interactions
The vast majority of children are very sociable naturally. However, children with symptoms of autism often do not seem to be very interested in participating in normal child development games and activities, such as socializing and imitating other people.
These signs begin to manifest at 18 months of age. As socialization with other children continues, symptoms may become more noticeable. For example, at 3 years of age, normal children often want to play with toys with other children. Children with symptoms of autism, on the other hand, prefer to play alone.
Presence of emotional outbursts
In some cases, children with symptoms of autism may show disproportionate emotional reactions, in apparently normal situations. For example, tantrums inappropriate for the type of situation, or physically aggressive behavior towards themselves, their parents, siblings, or others.
Sometimes they are unable to control their emotions and physical responses, especially when they have to face new, strange or stressful situations. Parents should carefully monitor their children’s social responses throughout their development. Although this type of emotional outburst is not common, it must be taken into account and discussed with a specialist, since it can help to make a correct diagnosis.
Delay in language development
By 2 years of age, most babies begin to babble or imitate the language of those who interact with them. For example, they pronounce a single word when they point to an object or try to get their parents’ attention.
However, children with symptoms of autism don’t start babbling or talking until much later. In fact, some don’t begin to show significant language skills until they start working with a speech therapist.
They have a tendency to non-verbal communication
As a consequence of this disorder, children with symptoms of autism do not develop verbal communication skills at the same time as normal children, they may show a propensity for non-verbal communication.
For example, they can use visual or physical means of communication, such as drawings or gestures, to make requests or participate in a round-trip dialogue. Another telltale sign of autism is that children may show a decrease in their verbal skills. For example, they may lose vocabulary.
Difficulty understanding figurative expressions
Children with symptoms of autism may have trouble understanding people, who often use expressions figuratively. They do not gain any secondary meaning from attitude or facial expressions, nor do they detect communication signals according to tone of voice. For example, they cannot tell a happy tone of voice from a sad or angry tone of voice.
Another related symptom of autism is that autistic children tend to have more trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is fiction. Interestingly, autistic children can be imaginatively very much alive, and some seem to prefer inhabiting their own imaginary worlds.
Show repetitive behaviors
People with symptoms of autism are more likely to exhibit repetitive behaviors. For example, they can organize and rearrange the same group of objects, back and forth over long periods of time. They also often obsessively repeat the same word or phrase (called echolalia). This is one of the clearest symptoms of autism to identify.
It may show an eating disorder called Pica
Pica syndrome is sometimes present as a symptom of autism, since 30% of children with this disorder also have pica.
The main characteristic of this behavior is that children ingest substances that are not nutritious. For example, earth (geophagy), chalk, stones, paper, ash, or biological substances. Although Pica can also be done by other younger children, people with autism continue to do this practice at older ages.
Sensitivity to external stimuli
Sensitivity to external stimuli is another early sign of autism. For example, people with autism, exposed to specific noises, bright lights, particular smells, or tastes, may experience stress or agitation. Some children with symptoms of autism, can avoid certain colors, clothes, sounds, lights, or areas of the house, for no apparent reason.
However, they can also become extremely sensitive to certain stimuli. Therefore, many autistic children, also experience emotional stress when deprived of their preferred stimuli.
See also: “Autism How to diagnose?“
Other symptoms of autism
In addition to these symptoms that affect a child with autism. Above all, communication difficulties, social skills, interests and behavior, can also show other attitudes such as:
- Having fixed routines and showing great anger if someone wants to modify them.
- It seems to have the senses of hearing, taste, alfato and touch, with a very high threshold of sensitivity.
- Walks on tiptoe.
- It has strange movement patterns.
Many children with symptoms of autism can also present other pathologies, such as:
- Attention deficit disorder
- Hyperactivity disorder
- Dyspraxia (difficulty organizing and coordinating thoughts and movements)
- Sleep disorders
- Epilepsy (seizures).
When should I consult with the pediatrician?
After turning one year old, we have to look at various things about the child. If we see these details, we should consult the pediatrician.
a) It does not have the behavior of a one-year-old child.
- They have very few gestures.
- Lack of connection with the eyes, they rarely look at the face.
- Lack of happy and warm expressions.
- They have no interest in delivering or displaying things.
- They do not respond to his name.
- Lack of coordination in non-verbal communication. They are not very expressive.
b) Shows atypical behaviors
They usually play with objects, continuously repeating the same movement. They also make repeated movements with parts of their body.
The tone of her voice is atypical.
Conclusion on the symptoms of autism
It is important that parents and educators are alert and tell the pediatrician that “something is wrong.” It is good to look before 2 years.
All children with ASD can learn. For all this, it is necessary to know the warning signs and the first indicators in autism spectrum disorders.
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