How to Assess Autism in Toddlers : Autism is very common in children. In fact, 1 out of 59 children is affected by this disorder. If you are a parent and you are worried about your child showing early symptoms, there’s nothing wrong with doing a quick autism assessment by checking your child’s signs and symptoms of autism. Along the way, you may need to reach out to an autism assessment specialist so you could have a conclusive answer to your questions.
Assessing autism may sound complicated. But you should not think this way, especially if you have a toddler. Your child needs your care and attention, so it’s really important to assess their behavior early on. If you are looking for ways on how you can assess early signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in your toddler, you’ve come to the right place.
Completing a simple autism assessment in your child
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder connected to a person’s development in their early childhood. It usually affects a child’s social interaction and communication skills. Since anyone may be born this disorder, its effects differ from one case to another. Some people who have ASD need more support and attention daily, while there are those who can live by themselves even with this disorder.
If you have a toddler at home and you want to check if they fall within the ASD spectrum, here are some quick tests you can do.
Issues with verbal communication
This is the most common symptom of autism. Your toddler should be able to communicate in simple sentences as early as 8 months and is able to understand verbal cues. If he has ASD, he will have difficulty with verbal communication. In other cases, it may be hard for them to use language. And even if they can talk to you, they would not be able to keep the conversation for a long period.
To assess if your child has this symptom, make sure to engage in conversation with them every day and see if they are experiencing difficulties with languages and speech.
Nonverbal communication assessment
Another symptom you may find in your child is their lack of nonverbal communication skills. Children in the autism spectrum are unlike any child who can communicate through body language. They tend to understanding body language and gestures difficult. They may even find it tough to wave or point at something. Since they can’t express themselves properly, parents will not be able to know what they want to say, which leads to the child’s frustration. When children with autism are frustrated, they might show improper behavior.
Teach your toddler to do hand gestures and understand body language. If they are having difficulties expressing themselves nonverbally, this may be a sign that they have autism.
Observe sensory issues
Children with autism may suffer from hyposensitivity or hypersensitvity. They struggle to process sensory information, which is a common symptom. Certain smells, tastes, sounds, and even physical touch can make them uncomfortable. If they overload their senses, they may become stressed out, anxious, and may even experience pain.
Observing their reaction to external stimuli is one way you can do a quick autism assessment at home. The earlier you introduce your toddler to different senses, the better they will understand and cope with what they are feeling. If you think they are having under-reactions or overreactions to sights, smells, or tastes of certain stimuli, reaching out to an autism assessment specialist will help you understand this symptom more.
Social skills test
A child with ASD has poor social skills. Social interaction is a challenging activity for them. At worst, they won’t be interested or wouldn’t know how to actually interact with other people. An example of this is not engaging in playtime with other kids. Children within the spectrum will often play with themselves and imagine being in different worlds. They may not even respond to you when you try to talk to them.
One way you can do an autism assessment is to test your child’s social skills. Bring them to playgrounds with the other children and let your child play with other children. If they are not participating in playtime or engaging with other children, that may be a sign of autism.
Consider repetitive behaviors in your child
It’s uncommon for a child within the autism spectrum to have repetitive behavior. If they do have certain habits, it may be a telling sign of ASD. Children with autism show obsessive behaviors. They may repeat certain body movements, including scratching, headbanging, or hand fluttering. This can also happen when they are playing with other kids.
To assess your child, observe if they have any worrying repetitive behavior and if they are doing it more frequently than normal. If they have show repetitive behavior, you may want to consult a specialist for further assessment.
Although these simple autism assessment tests can be done at home, these may not accurately identify whether or not your child has autism. These tests do, however, help you understand the early symptoms of autism for which you will have to reach out to a specialist for further assessments and consequent treatment. The autism spectrum disorder is not unlike many mental conditions, but understanding and knowing what you can do can help you, as a parent, give your children the right care and support they need for their development through adulthood.
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