Autism, ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder.
You hear these words but what do they mean? And does your child really have it?
You may have heard of some of the basic and more known signs and symptoms…no eye contact, doesn’t react to their name, not social, in their own little world.
But maybe your child is not like that.
Sure they are a little quirky. They have their own thing going on. Maybe a little delayed in speech but they’re so little, they’ll talk soon enough.
Yeah, they are hard to handle sometimes and don’t do well with transitions or change in routine…but they’ll grow out of it, right?
I have been through this!
I have had those questions and concerns!
And I ignored them because I didn’t know they pointed to Autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a spectrum. And there is so much that goes under the umbrella of ASD. You can check out the post I wrote on ASD signs and symptoms.
I knew all the stereotypical and well-known signs but my oldest, C, didn’t have any of those! I did not believe it. I didn’t even think to get him tested early on. He was 6 years old when we finally had him evaluated and diagnosed. You can read our story.
I don’t want you to be that mom that I was. Early intervention – getting them evaluated early is SO IMPORTANT.
Get your child diagnosed.
Get them the help they need.
Do not be afraid of a diagnosis. It will give you so many answers and hope.
I want to share with you some of the lesser known signs and symptoms of Autism. This is from my own personal experience with my son. I am not a doctor and cannot diagnose. Please speak with your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Signs of Autism that seem like normal behavior
-Makes eye contact, but for short amount of time
Your child may make eye contact from an early age.
In our case, C made eye contact from an early age. Only later we noticed that it would only be for short periods of time, only for a few seconds and then he would look away.
-Speech delay is present but was otherwise verbal
This is a tricky one because people define non-verbal differently.
C was making sounds and attempted to communicate although actual words started after 2 years of age. Phrases and short sentences at 5 years. And that progress was made after starting speech therapy.
-Can recite the alphabet and count to 20 but doesn’t speak in phrases or sentences.
I think this one shows how smart these kids can be.
C knew the alphabet very well but wasn’t able to point to a picture of an apple and tell me what it was.
-The child reacts to his or her name
I thought this was a big one and we never had trouble with this area.
C always responded to his name from the time he was a baby.
-No noticeable stimming
For some children, stimming can be minor or barely noticeable.
C would stim by taking apart the bottom seam of his shirts. We went through a shirt a day at one point because he would take the shirt apart basically. He recently switched to button down shirts. He can’t take apart those seems but now plays with the buttons instead.
Signs you may miss
You may notice your child seeking certain textures. They may like tight hugs or getting into small places. There are so many different things they can seek.
C was sensory seeking with his hands. Would pick up the tiniest things with his fingers and rub them between his fingers.
Very early on when he started crawling, he put his head down on the floor and would crawl with his head rubbing the floor.
Nowadays he likes to wear a fitted sheet over his entire body with hands and feet inside. I found this body sock that he absolutely loves and it replaced the fitted sheet.
-Fascination with a specific item
This may seem like your child just really like a specific toy or object but it can mean a lot more.
In our case C really loved wheels. Not the car or bicycle, but the wheels that were attached, he played with wheels and like to watch wheels turn.
For a short time, he was fascinated with peoples feet. Let’s just say this made some people uncomfortable.
Tiptoe walking is common in children with ASD but I think it’s also a lesser-known sign.
C was a late walker and I thought his tiptoe walking was just part of the process.
-Child doesn’t play pretend
You may not notice this one as much especially if you don’t have other typically developing children to compare your child to.
I totally missed this one. C was my oldest and only child until he was almost 5. He only started to play pretend after age 6. Now he has all kinds of storylines going on with his animals and plays pretend constantly.
-Child does not like physical affection
The child may not like to be touched or held, hugged or cuddled.
I just thought this was a personal preference of C’s
-Repetition in language
Your child may repeat the same words or phrases, over and over and over. Ask the same questions many times over even if the answer was given each time.
We had so much of this when C first started speaking in words. I thought he was just very curious or couldn’t remember what I answered him.
-Hard time connecting with children their own age
The child may have a had a hard time having a connection with other kids his or her age but anyone younger or older was easier.
I feel this is still part of our life. C has a difficult time communicating with kids his age and does much better with older or younger children.
When I started doing research on C’s behavior and he got his ASD diagnosis more of his quirks made sense.
It can be hard to see any of the signs as a warning signal. Especially if you don’t have any other kids to compare your child to (my case). And if no one else seems concerned why should you be?
You have a mother’s intuition. You know your child best. Get your child screened! Talk to your child’s pediatrician. Bring in notes, dates, videos. Make them listen to you. And once you have a diagnosis there are so many resources and help out there!
You got this mama!