Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”) is a developmental disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, verbal and nonverbal communication and behavior. Each individual with Autism is different. Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, it can cause mild to severe problems. Children or adults with Autism will have some degree of difficulty with their communication and social skills. Some children may also have sensory issues and difficulties with behavior.
The timing and severity of Autism’s early signs vary. In certain cases, infants may demonstrate some signs of Autism, however symptoms become more prevalent and obvious when a child is 2 – 3 years. When concerned about whether a child has Autism, it is important to observe their communication, social skills, behavior, fine and gross motor skills and if the child has any food aversions. Signs and symptoms of Autism include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulties with understanding and using gestures like pointing and waving.
- Difficulties with understanding and using words.
- Following directions.
- Difficulties with learning to read and write.
- Repeat words and phrases.
- Difficulties with focusing on an object or a toy with someone.
- Difficulties with eye contact, playing with other children and sharing toys.
- Child may have difficulties with changing from one activity to the next.
- May display behaviors including consistent hand flapping, rocking, spinning or staring.
- May only eat a few foods and dislike anything with texture or anything crunchy.
- Negative reaction to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and / or colors.