Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Recognising the Signs of Autism

Tuesday 2 April was World Autism Day and although this date has passed, it is never too late to raise awareness. It is estimated that autism spectrum conditions (including Aspergers syndrome and other persuasive developmental disorders) occur in 1-2% of the population. As a parent you never want to believe that your child may have such difficulties but it is important to get an early diagnosis as the younger the child the greater the impact of treatment.

The signs and symptoms of autism vary according to the individual. However children with autism spectrum conditions have problems in the following areas:

  • Problems with social interaction. This includes non-verbal communication behaviour such as eye contact impairments, abnormal development of peer relationships, a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, and a lack of emotional or social reciprocity. 
  • Impairments in communication. This includes marked impairments in the development of language and conversation skills, repetitive use of certain words/ phrases and a lack of interest in imaginative play. 
  • Repetitive and restricted behaviour. This includes an abnormally intense preoccupation with a particular subject or activity, very rigid routines or rituals, repetitive movements (such as hand flapping) and a persistent preoccupation with parts of objects. 
If you suspect your child may be suffering from autism spectrum disorders it is important to trust your instincts – after all, you know your child best. Consult your GP who can provide you further information and advice and refer you on if necessary.

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