The 5 Easy Questions That Can Help Detect Autism
A baby brings hopes for a perfect life filled with baseball games, piano recitals, and tiny voices learning to say, "Mommy," "Daddy, and, “I love you."
Sometimes, though, those voices never come.
A child may appear to be developing normally but when it comes time for the child to speak, parents are met with silence or meaningless babble.
It might not even occur to a parent that his or her child isn't speaking at an appropriate age level until the child spends time with peers at daycare, preschool, or even kindergarten and isn't able to communicate.
According to the Autism Society, one in 68 children have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. About one in six children have some kind of speech delay or impairment.
Oftentimes, children aren't diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder until age four or five, but the child may begin showing signs by the time he or she is two.
That can be scary news for a parent to receive, but it certainly doesn't mean anything is "wrong" with the child. It only means the parents will need to adjust their plans and expectations to include early intervention.
Think about that. There could be at least two to three years between showing signs of autism and receiving a diagnosis. That's two to three years of therapy, at an age where early intervention can make a huge difference, that's lost forever.
Hundreds of thousands of children go undiagnosed because parents and pediatricians don't know what to look for, or because pediatric neurologists and clinical psychologists are non-existent in most of the world. But parents can easily take control and look for early signs, then begin therapy immediately while waiting for an official diagnosis and for other services.
Harvard University came up with a series of questions to help parents notice signs of early autism. These have been proven to be 93 percent accurate, though are not a replacement for an official diagnosis.
See the image below to view all of the questions and if you answer "no" to two or more of these questions, please seek advice from a licensed professional. In the meantime, you can start a home-based intervention program immediately with Gemiini.
Whether your child is eventually diagnosed with a form of autism or not, he or she will be miles ahead of children who haven't had any home-based therapy or intervention. Autism Speaks says,
"There is no debate or doubt: early intervention is your child’s best hope for the future. Early attention to improving the core behavioral symptoms of autism will give your child – and the rest of the family – several important benefits that you will not gain if you take a wait-and-see approach until your child enters school at age four or five."
Gemiini has been helping children of all abilities and at all age levels learn to speak. Used worldwide, the unique system has been proven over and over again to increase a child's vocabulary and comprehension.
Perhaps most importantly, it's helped countless parents hear the tiny voices of their children finally say, "I love you, Mommy."
Answer the five questions at the end of this post, and if you answer "no" to two or more, begin early intervention right away. But first, here are some early warning signs of ASD.
Early Warning Signs: First Year
Even young infants are very social, so it’s possible to detect signs of autism in how babies interact with their world. At this age, a child with an ASD may:
- Not turn to a mother’s voice
- Not respond to his own name
- Not look people in the eye
- Have no babbling or pointing by age one
- Not smile or respond to social cues from others
Babies who do not have autism can have these behaviors, too, but it's best to contact your doctor right away with any concerns.
At 12 Months
- A child with typical development will turn his head when he hears his name.
- A child with ASD might not turn to look, even after his name is repeated several times, but will respond to other sounds.
At 18 Months
- A child with delayed speech skills will point, gesture, or use facial expressions to make up for her lack of talking.
- A child with ASD might make no attempt to compensate for delayed speech or might limit speech to parroting what is heard on TV or what she just heard.
At 24 Months
- A child with typical development brings a picture to show his mother and shares his joy from it with her.
- A child with ASD might bring her a bottle of bubbles to open, but he does not look at his mom's face when she does or share in the pleasure of playing together.
ASD at any age might include the following signs:
- Repeated motions (rocking or spinning)
- Avoiding eye contact or physical touch
- Delays in learning to talk
- Repeating words or phrases (echolalia)
- Getting upset by minor changes
It's important to note that these signs can occur in children without ASDs, too.
Many parents suspect autism but are waiting a long time for an assessment, or doctors won't believe them. The M-Chat is the diagnostic tool that most professionals use and it is free to parents. Take the survey and see what it says: https://www.m-chat.org