Have you recently observed any anomalies in your child’s behavior compared to other kids of similar age? Or has the teacher in your child’s pre-school brought to your attention that your child is usually reclusive and doesn’t want to interact with other children or teachers in the classroom? Or maybe you family practitioner has recommended that your child is evaluated for autistic trends. In these situations, the first question on your mind would be “Does my child have Autism“!
While there is no easy answer to this question, there are a few applied behavior analysis techniques that could be applied to either strengthen or eliminate your concerns.
What this page contains
- 1 Does My Child Have Autism?
- 2 Checklist to find out – Does My Child Have Autism
- 3 Who Diagnoses Autism
- 4 Getting Prepared for what Your Paediatrician may ask for
- 5 Applied Behavior Analysis Autism
Does My Child Have Autism?
To start off, try to use this autism symptom checklist below at home.
Mary Alexa, Autism Therapist, and Columnist says, “These are key elements taught by Dr. Richard Solomon, founder of PLAY Project (Play & Language for Autistic Youngsters) for Children with Autism. While studying under Dr. Solomon at the University of Michigan and have found these simple, yet key clues can help in preliminarily diagnose ASD.”
While playing games is the best form cognitive behavioral therapy for autism treatment, it is also among the best ways to perform the preliminary autism diagnosis. The good news is, that this can be easily incorporated into your day to day routines while interacting with your child.
Checklist to find out – Does My Child Have Autism
Is my child Autistic? Use this checklist while you interact:
- Pay attention to their attention – Are they making eye contact with you or is their attention solely focused on the toy at hand
- Pay attention to their intention – honor their intention, play what they want to play and see if they will allow you “IN” to play with them
- Mimic what your child is doing to see if they will interact with you
- Try to “check in” with your child while you are playing. This is to see if your child is making a connection with you
- Try to take away the toy from your child and start playing with it instead. Observe their behavior – are they, even momentarily, interested to see what you are doing or do they throw tantrums immediately once the toy is taken away
- See if you can engage your child in an activity that furthers what they are playing with. For example, your little one is playing with a fire engine rolling it back and forth, back and forth. Try to engage your child in a further thought about the fire engine. Example- Scot, there is a fire, can your fire truck put it out? If you child continues to roll the truck back and forth and does not want to let your idea become part of his play further assessment is necessary
- Is your child aggressive or has behavioral issues? Observe patterns in aggression – see if you can label their feelings to deter their actions. For example, if your child hits a sibling simply say “Are you angry with Suzy” see if your child understands the concept and emotion and will use words instead of behavior in the future. A child, who persists in aggressive behavior without beginning to understand, needs further assessment
- Watch a colorful animation movie with your child, typically movies like Frozen, Shrek or How to Tame Your Dragon are good starters. Does your child react negatively to the brightness, color or sound? If so, adjust your monitor and sound settings to autism-friendly mode (refer to the article on What is Autism Friendly Screening) and observe if they react better.
- Revisit some of the previous videos of your child’s first or second birthday party or Christmas. Try to look for some of the trends mentioned above. Does it ring a bell? Also, try to match them against the key signs of autism below.
- Use a normal conversational tone and see if your child responds, a lack of eye contact or response indicates further assessment is necessary
Early Signs of Autism in Children
Below are some of the common characteristics of Autism. However, please note that they may vary from one child to another. Also, Autism in Boys may differ significantly from autism in girls.
Next Step: Taking the Autism Quiz Online on our Website
If the answer to most of the questions listed in the above checklist tends to indicate that your child might be autistic, you may have some cause for concern.
Visit our Autism Test Center to take one of the following Autism tests that may apply to your child:
Check out this Video for Early Signs of Autism in Evan from his First year all the way till he was 7 years old. Try to take a cue for this:
Who Diagnoses Autism
If your child tests positive for Autism in the online tests, you would need to first visit your child’s pediatrician. Here is a list of referrals and autism tests that your pediatrician would most likely arrange for your child.
Getting Prepared for what Your Paediatrician may ask for
In order to diagnose Autism, doctors would usually follow a Process of Elimination
- Complete Medical History – Now is the time to ask questions about your child’s play, emotions and behavior. Your doctor or the pediatric specialist will follow the core diagnostic guidelines set up by The American Association of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Clinical Observation – your child would be put in different situations. You would be asked, if their reaction is normal
- Developmental and Intelligence tests would be conducted
- Physical exam to make sure your child exhibits a normal growth pattern
- Hearing test to rule out audibility as an issue
- Testing for lead poisoning (a condition called Pica), as a child with autism would continue to put things in their mouth long after the normal “phase”. Since Pica is also caused by Lead poisoning, a negative test for lead poisoning could strengthen the case for Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Possible chromosomal analysis if any intellectual disability is observed
- If your child has symptoms or had seizures and electroencephalograph (EEG) may also be performed
- The possibility of MRI scan if there appear to be signs of differences in the formation of the brain
Applied Behavior Analysis Autism
You primary care pediatrician will be looking for medical reasons to rule out and help answer whether your son or daughter is an autistic child. Your active participation is invaluable.
Your doctor will want to know the following based on your child’s age (refer to our article on what age is autism usually diagnosed)
- No babbling, sound making or pointing by age 12 months
- No usage of single words by 16 months
- No 2-word phrases by 24 months
- Any loss of language or social skills at any age
- Echolalia, i.e. repeating certain words or a group of words that are mostly out of context
- Difficulty in using language skills to make requests
- Absence or lack of eye coordination while speaking
- Lack of pointing out something or making gestures
- Challenges with reciprocal conversation
- Improper usage of pronouns, v.i.z. using “you” instead of “I”
- Lack of emotion in speech or body language
- Difficulty interpreting emotions and facial expressions
What other Autism Resources May your Doctor Employ
If any of the issues listed above are present your doctor will advise you to use some developmental screening tools such as Ages and Stages Questionnaire or the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT). These questionnaires are quite simple and to the point. The value will be long-lasting and instrumental in assessing behavioral issues at an early age.
Hope this article clearly addresses your concerns on “Does my Child Have Autism”. If so, you may want to share this article so that others may find it useful as well. Remember, there is nothing better than autism early intervention! You will then be able to provide your child with the best research and therapies available.