Children with autism spectrum disorder never/rarely exhibit social behaviour, communication skills, and emotional understanding. They only try communicating (monologues) with their parents or caregivers to indicate needs. They lack empathy and rarely respond to social overtures made by elders or other children. Also, they do not share the delight of activities (play, games) with others. The level of disability and symptoms varies tremendously from child to child.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parents dealing with children on the autism spectrum, hear different terms involved with the disorder. They face words such as ‘high-functioning autism,’ ‘autism spectrum disorder’, ‘developmental disorder,’ etc. Still, a child’s unique needs are more important. Getting help to diagnose the child’s symptoms and finding treatment options that address their needs is the first priority of parents.
In children, autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed by the presence of multiple symptoms that disturb their ability to communicate, maintain a social relationship, learn, and play.
Social Behaviour And Autism
For children on the spectrum, maintaining a pleasant social interaction can be a difficult task. Social behaviour symptoms that indicate autism include:
- Inappropriate body language and facial expressions that do not match their feelings.
- Lack of interest and they do not point-out to an object of interest or desire (toys, games, foodstuff).
- Lack of interest in people and prefers to stay alone. Fail to participate in social interaction or make friends.
- Do not understand non-verbal cues.
- Resist when touched or hugged.
Communication Difficulties And Autism
Children with autism struggle with speech and communication ability which are easily detectable.
- Delay in speech development or absence of monosyllables even after completing 2 years
- Abnormal tone of voice
- Reciting words or phrases repeatedly
- Trouble initiating a conversation
- Inability to understand simple statements
Restricted Or Repetitive Behavior
Children with autism disorder exhibit obsessive, rigid, and restricted behaviours. They display symptoms that include:
- Repetitive movements such as moving in circles, rocking, clapping, etc
- Obsessive attachment to objects (keys, doll, car). Fascinated by parts of their toys (car tyre, the face of the doll)
- They line up toys and objects in a particular order, over and over again
- React to changes in their daily routine
- They have an abnormal posture and walk in an unusual way
Other Signs That Indicate Autism
Apart from social, communication and behaviour symptoms, children with autism spectrum disorders also display the following problems:
Sensory Issues: Many children with autism exhibit hyper or hypo reactions to sensory input (sounds, textures, light, temperature, and pain). They easily get disturbed by even the softest sounds, sudden and loud noises (ringing telephone).
Emotional Complications: Children on the autism spectrum fail to display their emotions. For no apparent reason, they yell, cry, or laugh hysterically. When aggressive, they can harm themselves. They are unaware of dangers like jumping from a height or moving vehicles.
If any of the above symptoms are visible in a child, a visit to the doctor and early intervention with medicine, therapies, and diet can help him/her to enjoy life to the fullest.