Are you the parent of a child that you believe is showing some odd behaviour that might well be contributed to ASD (Autism spectrum disorder)? I have below just ten of the signs you should be looking for and while it doesn’t mean for sure your child is Autistic it should be considered a reason to talk to your doctor and the child’s school about your concerns…
Not Immediately Respond to Their Name
At first, you might be thinking your child is having hearing problems. But after getting them tested and ruling that out you might be wondering why it takes 3 or more times for your child to respond to his name being called. This is one of the most common signs of Autism and this significant social delay can be frustrating to the parent. The key thing with all of these signs is to keep a diary of your thoughts and concerns as it will help the people diagnosing them and helping them through life.
Not Playing “Pretend” Games
Most children enjoy playing dress up and pretending they are their favourite superhero or sports star, but not nessisarly children with autism. Due to their lack of imagination, they lack the ability to pretend to be someone or something other than they really are. Sadly this is a trait that shows later in the child’s life rather than earlier as you start to realise other kids in the playground are playing these types of games and your own child isn’t.
Constantly Avoiding Eye Contact
This is a very common trait of children with autism as it is something that stands out from the norm so to speak. Even when it is just your child and you in a quiet room and you start to hold a conversation you will still notice their eyes darting left and right, just looking anywhere other than your own face or the face of someone talking to them. This will be more likely something their teacher will pick up on early and as a parent, it is something to be aware of if a teacher says your child is lacking in concentration.
Prefers Their Own Company
If you only have the one child this won’t be something you will pick up on until they start school, but if they have older or younger siblings you might notice it a lot sooner. It doesn’t necessarily mean they go into another room on their own, it could just be that they turn their backs towards other people in the room to colour, draw or play on their tablets of phones.
Lack of Saftey Awareness
There is a big difference to a child that is fearless and a child that lacks the sense of danger around them. Signs of autism are children wanting to touch kettles or walking out in the road without looking. It could even be the total lack of awareness of the harm things can do like jumping from the top of the climbing frame or holding sharp objects. This can often be the smallest of signs, but also one of the most common
Repeating Things Over and Over
This is not just doing something over and over, it could also mean saying something over and over. The same word, the same short sentence or even the same DVD or Netflix show over and over again. This will often be one of the most frustrating things for parents or are unaware of these signs of autism and is often put down to the child being annoying.
Lack of Social Skills
This is a sign that you might think is very apparent, but it really isn’t that simple. Your child not having any noticeable friends is one thing, but them going out of their way to make friends is another. Children with autism don’t see the need to make friends so will avoid all situations that might lead to social interactions. Things like not wanting to go to parties, being picked on in school for being different or even not putting their hand up in school in order to not stand out.
Affected by Small Changes
When most people think of an autistic child this is the thing they will often say is a sure sign, but it is something that is often not as apparent as you might think. If your child comes home from school upset it might be because there is a supply teacher in for that day, they might instantly become ill because of a change in food, wallpaper or even their toothbrush. Any parent with an autistic child will tell you that this is the hardest part of life with them.
Fussy Eating and Sleeping
While there are a lot of different things that might be contributing to your child not sleeping well at nights and being a super fussy eater, it is one of the most common signs of autism. These things are often taken to the extreme with the child eating only things you can count on one hand or only being able to sleep at certain times or in a certain position. There are many, many other things this could also be, but it is something to
Unusual Reactions to Things
Have you ever given your child a gift and they have got upset? Maybe you get them something new to replace an old item and it has caused a meltdown? These unusual reactions could be a sign of autism as they can’t handle changes to things, even if those new things are better than the old. As a parent of an autistic child, you will soon learn to change as little as possible, but it is sadly never that easy.
As with anything odd and unusual, it is best to talk to your doctor about things no matter how small they might be. Autism is something that gets much more noticeable with time, so do keep an eye out for these signs even in adulthood.