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With the prevalence of Autism being what it is, undoubtedly most, if not all of you, have known or know families with affected children. They will tell you that in the first year of the child’s life there was little or no indication that something was awry. Major symptoms tend to appear around 12-18 months though they can appear earlier. I will list the symptoms as delineated on the Autismspeaks.com website.
-not responding to name by 12 months
-preferring not to be held or cuddled
-not following instructions
-loss of skills ie: no longer saying works that he/she could previously say
-difficulty explaining what they want or need
-difficulty understanding how other people feel
-avoiding eye contact
-difficulty adapting to changes in routine
-being unusually attached to toys or objects
-rocking from side to side
-spending a lot of time ‘organizing’ items ie: stacking or lining things up repeatedly
-repeating certain words, phrases, sounds
-having an unusual response to certain smells, tastes, sounds
-movement problems, including balance impairments, fine and gross motor skills
Autism occurs less frequently in girls and may be overlooked for a long time. Girls tend to be naturally quieter and more content to play alone. They are good at hiding their symptoms and put more energy into fitting in. They make friends more easily than boys. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and personality disorder can occur alongside Autism and can result in misdiagnosis. The stress of Autism can result in self-harm behaviours in girls which may go unnoticed for a while, whereas boys tend to act outwardly with anger or misbehaviours, raising a red flag. Anger is not usual in ASD, but rage can come on suddenly and disappear just as quickly. It can be triggered by stress, sensory overload, changes in routine, and being ignored.
ASD children are universally vulnerable to bullying and abuse. Parents, caretakers, and teachers should be aware of this and educate other children on the condition and how to support and protect affected individuals.
Enough to think about for today. Feel free to comment and share your information and experiences.
Next time we’ll talk about ‘STIMMING’