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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Identifying Autism

Autism effects 1 in every 150 births in America today. It is a silent epidemic that has no cure. People with Autism suffer in silence until someone has the courage and love to stand up and speak for them. It is a challenging task to say the least. One that should never be taken lightly. Raising a child with Autism can be frustrating, time consuming, heartbreak and disappointing, but it can also be the most rewarding job you will ever accept. To see the small child that once sat in silence, isolated from the world finally stand up and speak, learn and grow makes all the hard work worth wild.

Autism can difficult to spot unless you know the warning signs. Each person with Autism can exhibit different signs. Below are the most common signs of Autism. Signs can appear as early as a year old. If your child exhibits these signs contact your doctor for an Autism screening. Do NOT wait. Early intervention can make a world of difference.

1. Does not respond to their name – acts as though he/she is deaf
2. Does not wave bye bye or ‘coo’ by age one
3. Does not make eye contact
4. Resists physical contact
5. Appears unaware of people and surroundings
6. Prefers to play alone and stays in his/her own world
7. Does not start talking by age one and half.
8. Looses acquired speech
9. Has uncontrollable fits of rage, sadness and other emotions (this one goes beyond the typical toddler temper tantrum – fits can often include physical abuse to himself/herself.)
10. Bangs head on wall, or physically hurts themselves for no reason
11. Seems oblivious to physical pain
12. May have abnormal speech rhythm. (i.e. robot tone, or singing voice)
13. Repeats words or phrases constantly but doesn’t understand them
14. Repetitive motion like hand waving, rocking, arm flapping ect.
15. Develops specific routines and patterns and gets upset when those routines are changed
16. Has a habit of lining up object in room, such as lining up chairs, toys, books ect.
17. Becomes unusually obsessed with moving objects; spinning car wheel, fan rotating (my daughter had to have the ceiling fan on at all times)

If you feel your child may have Autism, please do not wait. Take your child to the doctor and ask for an Autism screening. The doctor can then screen your child and refer you to the Early Intervention Program (IEP) in the county/ school district you live in.

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