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I have known only a few kids with autism and know from them and their parents how very loving these children are if only in their own way. It is, however, a difficult path to navigate as a parent and I’m sure for the child as well.

This month is Autism Awareness Month so we are featuring a bit of information to keep our parents informed and perhaps motivated to find out more about this developmental disorder.

According to Google Health, Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.

Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time the child is 18 months old and seek help by the time the child is age 2. Children with autism typically have difficulties in:

Pretend play
Social interactions
Verbal and nonverbal communication
Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.

People with autism may:

Be overly sensitive in sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste (for example, they may refuse to wear “itchy” clothes and become distressed if they are forced to wear the clothes)
Have unusual distress when routines are changed
Perform repeated body movements
Show unusual attachments to objects
The symptoms may vary from moderate to severe.

Communication problems may include:

Cannot start or maintain a social conversation
Communicates with gestures instead of words
Develops language slowly or not at all
Does not adjust gaze to look at objects that others are looking at
Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says “you want water” when the child means “I want water”)
Does not point to direct others’ attention to objects (occurs in the first 14 months of life)
Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials
Uses nonsense rhyming

Social interaction:

Does not make friends
Does not play interactive games
Is withdrawn
May not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact
May treat others as if they are objects
Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
Shows a lack of empathy

Response to sensory information:

Does not startle at loud noises
Has heightened or low senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste
May find normal noises painful and hold hands over ears
May withdraw from physical contact because it is overstimulating or overwhelming
Rubs surfaces, mouths or licks objects
Seems to have a heightened or low response to pain


Doesn’t imitate the actions of others
Prefers solitary or ritualistic play
Shows little pretend or imaginative play

“Acts up” with intense tantrums
Gets stuck on a single topic or task (perseveration)
Has a short attention span
Has very narrow interests
Is overactive or very passive
Shows aggression to others or self
Shows a strong need for sameness
Uses repetitive body movements

For more information on treatment and Autism, please visit this article on Google Health

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