Autism Traits Or Indicators To Watch Out For In Your Child

May 16, 2022

Here are some of the most common traits to watch out for in a child with autism.

The best way to help autistic children develop to their full potential is through early intervention. For us to apply early intervention though, we have to recognize the different indicators or tell-tale signs of autism and developmental delays in our child. From there, we can get a recommendation from a developmental pediatrician on the best course of action to take.

Autism traits or indicators to watch out for in your child
Autism day vector created by pikisuperstar

Autism Traits Or Indicators To Watch Out For In Your Child

How early should you consult a developmental pediatrician? Two years old is a good age, according to Miguel’s pediatrician. That’s because by two years old, parents would be able to get a good grasp on their child’s development. They’d be able to have good judgment if their child is just slightly delayed or significantly delayed in terms of development.

Of course, it’s really hard to imagine what a developmental delay looks like unless you see it for yourself. Here are some specific examples that we observed in Miguel that prompted us to consult a professional.

Language delay

A few months before turning a year old, Miguel was already making a lot of sounds but these are all incomprehensible grunts and shouts. He wasn’t really talking and practically wasn’t learning any words by two years old. We were alarmed because kids his age were already saying a lot of words, if not talking in short sentences.

Lack of eye contact

Miguel wasn’t making any eye contact when we talked to him. He wouldn’t also respond when we called his name. At times, we even wondered if he really knew his name. During the few times when he made eye contact, I always made a remark that he doesn’t seem to be connecting with me. It was like he was making empty glances.

Walking in tiptoe

When we first saw Miguel walking on tiptoe, we initially thought it was cute. Eventually, we realized that it didn’t seem like a normal thing to do so we took note of it for possible consultation with his pediatrician.

Hand flapping

When Miguel turned a year old, he would flap his hands when he got all excited. Again, we had no idea that it was an indicator of autism and even though it seemed like an amusing mannerism. We later found out through research that it was called stimming, which is a self-stimulating behavior.

Hitting his head on the wall

This is what probably set the alarm for me. During a few instances, I saw Miguel hitting the back of his head on our wall. Those were just gentle knocks on the wooden wall but it was enough to get me alarmed. Honestly, this was Miguel’s behavior that prompted me to do my research.

I googled all my observations – tiptoe, hand flapping, hitting the head – and all symptoms pointed to autism. I was initially shocked and worried but after that, I researched some more and asked Miguel’s pediatrician about the best course of action.

From there, we consulted a developmental pediatrician and got a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay (GDD) with a high risk of autism for Miguel.

What you can do at home to help your child

After getting a diagnosis, we immediately enrolled Miguel in occupational therapy. He was just two years old then. Sadly, because of the pandemic, we were on and off face-to-face therapy because of health and safety concerns.

We tried a home program but anybody doing online classes or home learning for their kids would agree with me that it’s hard. Well, it’s doubly challenging for special needs parents like me because it’s hard to get a child with GDD to concentrate.

As we progressed and continued with face-to-face therapy, Miguel eventually got the rhythm and became more focused. In terms of the things that we do at home to help him, here are some of the strategies that we continue to do in the last two years.

For eye contact and name recall, we would constantly call his name throughout the day to get his attention, most especially if we are about to give him his favorite toy or snack. Even during our home activities, I would call Miguel before handing him a toy or an item.

To encourage non-verbal kids to talk, be descriptive when speaking to them. A good example is the word “flower.” Instead of just saying “flower,” say that it’s a beautiful red rose. Also, non-verbal kids use a lot of gestures. When they ask you to do or get something like a snack, instead of just handing it to them, you can say, “Do you want Dutch Mill? Do you like the big one? Here, I’ll give it to you.” You can also teach them to use the palm up gesture if they want to ask for something.

Lastly, encourage them to be independent by teaching them to dress up, wash their hands, and clean up after playtime.

We’re glad that Miguel was eventually picking these up although gradually. Nonetheless, progress is progress and we’re happy with our little achievements.

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