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Autism Questions Answered | The Essential Guide To Autism

Autism Questions Answered

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During April (Autism Awareness Month) I asked my newsletter subscribers to send in any questions they had about autism to me.

The response was quite overwhelming. So what I’ve done it group the most commonly asked questions and will be answering those first. However I do hope to get round to all the questions over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the blog for new posts.

If you aren’t a member of my newsletter service, it’s easy to join and free. Just enter your details into the form at the bottom of the page and you’ll be sent reminders when the blog has been updated.

The first question that was asked the most was:

What are the signs of autism?

I have actually already got a post on this, but I think it’s worth repeating here:

Autism is not easy to diagnose as it is a spectrum disorder, and so can have many degrees of severity.

In young children the following signs should lead you to consider further evaluation:

- Failure to coo or babble by or before one year old.
- Inability to speak single words by 16 months.
- Inability to communicate nonverbally, such as pointing at objects or waving, by age one.
- Inability to independently speak two-word phrases by age 2 (i.e., the child does not combine words without copying words spoken to him/her).
- Loses any communication or social skills at any age.

The above are general symtoms of autism, but should not be considered as a definative list.

More specific signs to look out for in children to help you better identify potential autistic behaviours are listed below:

- Failure to respond when his/her name is called.
- Inability to communicate his/her needs or wants verbally.
- Delays in verbal communication skills and repeating words or phrases instead of normal speech.
- Failure to follow directions.
- Occasionally appears to be deaf even though hearing test results are normal.
- Doesn’t point at objects of interest.
- Doesn’t wave good-bye or hello.
- Stops speaking.
- Unusually forceful tantrums and unusual emotional responses.
- Strange patterns of movement.
- Hyperactive, obstinate, or defiant. Can display overly aggressive behavior or tendencies to self-harm.
- Appears not to know how to play with toys.
- Fails to smile when smiled at.
- Doesn’t make or maintain appropriate eye contact.
- Performs repetitive motions or routines. Wants to have the same daily routine and dislikes change.
- Prefers playing alone.
- Thinks only to get things for him/herself and not others.
- Exhibits more independence than is normal for his/her age.
- Early performance of activities.
- Ignoring or tuning out people. May not like to be hugged or have physical contact.
- Shows no interest in peers and may be scared of crowds.
- Tiptoe walking.
- Will only eat certain foods and have many food allergies.
- General ongoing digestion problems.
- Unusual sensitivity to normal noises, smells and an over or underdeveloped sensitivity to pain.
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.

Although it is unlikely that an autistic person would display all of the above signs, this list covers the common signs of autism.

If someone is displaying 8 or more symptoms from the list you should consider consulting a medical professional.

I hope that this helps those of you who wanted a greater understanding of the signs and symptoms of Autism.

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