What is autism and what are the early signs?
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder defined by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, accompanied by restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.
The signs of ASD are usually evident in early childhood. Though it is still considered a lifelong diagnosis, with appropriate early intervention, individuals with ASD can lead productive, inclusive, and fulfilling lives. Many children with ASD do well in school, participate in activities they enjoy, go on to college, and are employed in adulthood. For most parents and professionals, ASD can be a very puzzling and complex disorder. Though a great deal of its mystery has yet to be uncovered, we know much more about it than we did 10 years ago. Just as our understanding has evolved over the years, so has the way we define, diagnose, and treat ASD.
What are early red flags of ASD in toddlers?
The diagnostic features of ASD can be easy to miss in young children. Looking for possible red flags or early signs may help to find children at risk for ASD, and in need of a diagnostic evaluation. If your child shows some of the following red flags, talk to your child’s doctor. If you or your child’s doctor has concerns about possible ASD, ask for a referral to a developmental specialist or you can contact your local early intervention program.