There is no easy answer and parents should expect far more than a single trip to the doctor to obtain a thorough answer. Autism does have some obvious symptoms as well as obscure ones, but they all require observation by the appropriate professionals to diagnosis.
You should expect to see your child’s Pediatrician and you should look around for a Psychologist or Psychiatrist that deals with autism. Many counties offer a service known as “Child Development Clinics,” or other such service for lower income and/or uninsured families.
You should expect a full day of observation ranging from 4-6 hours, at least once. Autism is not something that can be adequately diagnosed in a routine 15-minute visit. Many medical doctors simply aren’t trained in the areas of psychological disorders or diseases.
As a parent or guardian, you will have far more time to observe your child than any professional. Below are listed many of the common symptoms of autism and autistic spectrum disorders. If you notice these behaviors in your child and are concerned, you should seek the advice of your child’s physician.
Some Common Symptoms:
*Inability to focus. Mainly, the autistic individual struggles with eye contact. This often causes parents to suspect a hearing loss issue when it is simply autism.
*Unusual Likes. This is commonly called, “obsessions,” among autistic discussions. In cases less severe, these obsessions may be a constructive facet of your child’s life. If the obsession is too strong, it may overwhelm every other topic.
*Advanced Intelligence. In going with the aforementioned quality, autistic children will often be extremely advanced in whatever subject they like. Small children may be regularly studying advanced geography or mathematics if it suits their current obsession.
*Many children with ASDs are “hyperlexic.” They have advanced vocabularies. It’s common for Kindergartners to have vocabularies ranging from fourth to sixth grade level.
*Relates better with adults. Autistic children, or children with ASDs, may relate better to adults than to their peers. Their advanced usage of language may hinder any desire to interact with their peers.
*Autistic children commonly have “ticks.” These small physical tendencies can range from repetitive motions to muscle ticks. They may flap their arms, ball their hands, or rock in place. It is common for many physicians to check children for epilepsy in these situations, so do not feel alarmed if it is mentioned. A test called an EEG will rule out any physical abnormalities or epileptic potential of the brain.
*Abnormal sensitivity to change. Autistic children have a tremendous ability to spot changes in their environment. This can trigger adverse reactions if these changes are at all drastic.
*Abnormal sensitivity to sound or temperature.
*Extreme Impulsivity. Many parents struggle with controlling their children simply due to the impulses they have. These are a part of autism and no amount of threatening or punishment will deter them.
*Autistic children may have vocal or repetitive outbursts. If they have an “obsession,” it will often rule their conversation topics.