What are the symptoms of autism in children under two?
Appears indifferent to surroundings
Appears content to be alone, happier to play alone
Displays lack of interest in toys
Displays lack of response to others
Does not point out objects of interest to others (called protodeclarative pointing)
Marked reduction or increase in activity level
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 rudimentary 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 (called echolalia). Some children with autism learn to read.
Autistic children do not express 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).
Other symptoms in young children include:
Avoids cuddling or touching
Frequent behavioral outbursts, tantrums
Inappropriate attachments to objects
Maintains little or no eye contact
Over- or undersensitivity to pain, no fear of danger
Sustained abnormal play
Uneven motor skills
Unresponsiveness to normal teaching methods and verbal clues (may appear to be deaf despite normal hearing)
Research has shown that autism occurs more often in first born children and males. My daughter (first born) was an incredibly easy, cuddly baby, but definitely displayed language/communication delays. Her diagnosis is Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
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