Raunak looks healthy as a one-year-old toddler. But his mother is still worried as he rarely gives any response to her loving gestures. Most of the time he looks dull and aloof of the people around him. His elder sister was totally different at this age. She played peek-a-boo with her father, started babbling and mimicked her grandfather’s way to clap by this age. Raunak is a very different child; he has not even started to smile seeing his parents yet. His parents always wonder if something is wrong with him or he is just not a friendly baby. They are planning to take him to a pediatrician soon. Raunak may be suffering from Autism.
Catching autism early
No parent will ever want to associate his or her beloved child with this disease. But, some unfortunate genetic defects and environmental factors (Read Tips to minimize the risk of giving birth to an Autistic child) cause Autism. Instead of feeling vulnerable, keep faith in your judgment and assess your child’s growth from time to time. Autism can be caught as early as eighteen months and treatments specific to a child can be started at a tender age to lessen the effects of disorders. As a parent you are in best capacity to notice the earliest red flags of Autism. You know your child best and can’t just expect a doctor to diagnose this disease based on a 15-20 minute visit. Well-informed parents along with an experienced pediatrician can improve the quality of life of an autistic child to a great extent.
Keep an eye on your child’s development
Autism is not a single disability, but a spectrum of close-knit disorders involving child’s social interaction, emotional stability, and empathy towards others, communication with peers and parents and flexibility in behavior.
It is important to know what social, emotional and cognitive milestones, to expect with every stage of your baby to spot the developmental delays and early signs of Autism. A baby looking absolutely healthy and physically active may have an underlying disease, which might deteriorate his/her quality of life later. Early attention to child’s deficits can signal the parents and other caregivers to timely facilitate the process of learning and growth of child in an efficient manner.
All children are different and so is the effect of this neurological disease on their behavior and social skills. Two kids of the same age may be diagnosed by same disease but may present very different symptoms.
Every child develops at a different pace and there is a broad window of age allotted to achieve a particular milestone. But, if you are concerned about any delay above a certain time period, bring it to your child doctor’s notice immediately.
Sometimes, a child starts communicating and socializing normally in about first 2 years of life, then stop being vocal entirely. Child becomes dull and stops enjoying games like peek-a-boo and patty cake. If you notice that child has suddenly stopped babbling, laughing, playing games, clapping or waving bye-bye; consult with a pediatrician seriously. Regression is a major red flag or warning sign of Autism.
Early intervention can bring a very positive change in Autistic child
Autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months but early symptoms surface between 12 and 18 months. If parents can spot the early signs, then it can be detected by 18 months. There is a very ripe possibility that intensive treatment started at such tender age could help revamp the brain and reverse the symptoms of Autism to a great extent.
Young brain till the age of 6 years is amazingly pliable. It can be molded and shaped on the basis of child’s exposure to varied experiences and training. Although autism has genetic roots, some learning techniques specifically designed according to child’s shortcomings can help him/her immensely to lead a normal life. Earlier the help is extended to an autistic child, better are the results of therapy.