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Year Two – Post 12 | Is my child Autistic?
Knowledge of child development, beginning at birth, is the key to early intervention. A parent knows their child better than anyone else; they just need the tools to identify abnormal or delayed development. Pediatricians report that the best thing a parent can do for their child is to know what normal development is in the areas of speech, hearing, motor, cognitive and social-emotional milestones.
It takes input from a team consisting of a speech pathologist, health care providers and teachers, along with an assessment by a neurologist to determine if a child is Autistic. However, there are signs a parent can look for in regard to a child’s communication, cognitive, physical and social-emotional skills to determine if he should be further evaluated for behaviors that might indicate a possible Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The following skills can be assessed by a parent by the time a child is one-years-old. In the area of communication skills, is he making speech sounds? Does he turn to sound? Is there eye contact? Is he interested in interacting with people, or does he prefer objects? Does he imitate facial expressions, mouth movements, sounds or words meaningfully? Does he wave “bye” or use other hand gestures? Does he shake his head “no”? Has he said his first word by one year? In the area of cognitive skills, does he play with toys? Does he watch his bottle or spoon anticipating to be fed? Does he point to objects? Is he interested in playing “peek-a-boo”? Is he beginning to connect pictures in a book with real objects? Does he respond to his name? In the area of physical skills, does he overreact to sounds, lights, textures, smells, or tastes? Is he reaching, sitting, crawling and pulling himself up on furniture? Does he like to roll a ball back and forth? Is he improving in the coordination of his hands and legs? Does he use his eyes directly, or does he prefer to look out of the side of his eye at objects? In the area of social/ emotional skills, does he cry excessively and is inconsolable when held? Does he relax his body when cuddled? Does he have meaningful eye contact, or does it feel he is looking “through” you? Does he show eagerness, satisfaction and unhappiness through facial expressions, sounds or movement? Does he show recognition of family members/pets by crawling to or pointing at them?
In addition to my home program, My Baby Compass, Birth to Two, which has additional milestones and information, I recommend Asperger’s, Autism & Non-verbal Learning Disorders by John M. Ortiz, Ph.D. if you have further concerns about your infant not reaching normal developmental milestones and need more information about possible “red flags.”
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series
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