According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is on the rise. A staggering 20 kids out of every 1,000 boys and girls in the United States will be born with autism. This is a nine percent rise from the numbers that had this neurological disorder in 2008, and a far cry from the people who were diagnosed with autism in the 1980’s.
Autism is a neurological disorder that greatly affects the way a person can relate to and empathize with other people. It also affects their ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally, and socially interact with others. This is because autism affects the info that is being processed by the brain by altering how the nerve cells and synapses connect to each other and organize the data they are gathering.
Due to the drastic rise in autism, it is very important for expecting parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of autism so that they can get their child diagnosed as quickly as possible. The symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, but there are still some key characteristics to look for.
Autism is believed to be present at birth, but a lot of kids do not start displaying characteristics of autism until late in their second year.
Avoidance of Eye Contact
One of the very first symptoms of autism that you can detect in a child is their lack of eye contact. Kids with autism cannot or will not make eye contact with people who are talking to them. This sign is not present in everyone who has autism, but still be aware of it. Autism is almost always diagnosed through interviewing and observing a child and watching for a group of symptoms that they display.
No Shared Joy
One of the other most prevalent signs of autism in a child is lacking a spontaneous outburst for celebration or sharing joy with others. While many children will clap, laugh or point to take part in shared celebrations, autistic kids often will not point these things out or show off their achievements.
Hard Time Making Friends
This inability to connect with people also makes kids with autism have a hard time developing friendships and other types of relationships. If you notice that your son or daughter is lagging behind in appropriate social relationships with peers, friends and even teachers, they may have autism. While sometimes this can be associated with just general shyness, kids with autism have the inability or lack of desire to form bonds with others.
Delays in Speech Development
Boys and girls who have autism will also have delays in their speech development. Speech development therapists can help you find these signs in your child. If their speech delay is also combined with other symptoms, you should also take your child to a doctor for a professional diagnosis. Chances are if your child is autistic, they will have speech development problems because three out of five autistic people suffer from these symptoms.
What to do if Your Child has Autism
It can be a heartbreaking shock to find out that your child has autism, but that should not stop you from being the loving parent your son or daughter needs and deserves. There are many ways to treat autism at school and at home, including through autism toys, specialists and educational methods.
You can also join a support group for parents who have an autistic child to be able to meet other people who are in your situation and learn from them.