Question?: Autism Symptoms In 3 Year Old

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Betty asks…

How do i know if my 2 year old has autism?

I am curious because since he turned 2 his speech development has slowed down tremendously, he pretty much knows mommy, dada, ball, and bye, and will continually repeat them. I have been doing some of my own research but it is hard for me to really know because of the fact that i am his mother. He has a younger brother who turned 1 in August and at first his doctor said that it was because of his brother that he wasnt talking, but the 1 year old says more than my 2 year old, i just dont understand. If anybody can help me it would be greatly appreciated!

admin answers:

School districts do not assess children under the age of 3 years old so that is not an option yet. I also would not rely to heavily on a peditrician as very few are aware of the early signs and symptoms of autism and will say things like it will come with time or he is just a boy so he is a late talker etc. Besides language what are your other concerns. Does he use the limited language he has functionally? When he syas ball is it becaue he sees a ball or wants a ball? A child can have a simple language delay that is easy to fix and is usually totally fixable. Signs of autism include not playing with toys appropriately, not using gestures, facial expressions to communicate, not showing shared enjoyement or joint attention. When your child is playing with his favorite toy does he look at you to see if you are watching? If something funny, silly or scary happens does he look at your face to see your reaction? IF you play peek a boo or some similar game does he try to get you to do it again or do more of something fun. Also you can look for stereotypic behavior, hand flapping rocking, spinning objects over and over again, watching just the wheels on the car or truck instead of the whole toy?
These kind of social pragmatic indicators are more important for discerning autism compared to perhaps a simple speech delay. IT is not too early to investigate speech services. A speech person who specializes in working with young children does speech all with toys on the floor and play based so the kids don’t know they are in therapy and they give you wonderful ideas about how to bring out language in your child in daily activities and routines in order to further develop speech. Seek out other professionals. A developmental pediatrician or psychologist might be able to do a formal assessment. NOw adays many area have autism clinics at the children’s hospital or through MR/DD service providers taht serve children with disabilties birth through death. Where I live it is called the regional center but there are similar providers with different names depending where you live. Good luck.

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