Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears in the first three years of a child’s life.
The most important symptoms are communication deficits, problems in social interactions, and limited and repetitive patterns in behavior, interests, and activities.
The latest statistics of autism spectrum disorder in the world is 1 in every 54 live births. Still, of course, people with this disorder are on a vast spectrum, so the various signs and symptoms of autism appear in each person in the same way and with different intensities.
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are generally detectable in the first three years of life. Still, signs may be detected later if the child is at a higher level and more similar to his non-autistic peers. It should be noted that if the child has severe developmental delays, this disorder will be diagnosed before 18 months.
Parents are usually the first to notice that their child is different from other children. At first, parents may attribute the child’s lack of response to his surroundings to his deafness. Still, sometimes they realize that their child does not have a hearing problem but is not able to respond like other children of the same age. At this time, parents should refer to a pediatrician or a clinical specialist with experience in childhood disorders.
Although scientists have not yet been able to discover the cause of autism spectrum disorder accurately, several factors, such as genetic factors, environmental problems, lifestyle, etc., can play a role in the occurrence of this disorder worldwide. Any family in any social and economic class can have a child with autism.
Autism spectrum disorder does not have a definitive treatment yet, and all treatment programs focus on rehabilitating the autistic child and teaching the skills needed to gain independence. Let’s not forget that autistic children are just different children. It is interesting to know that this difference has even, in some cases, created strengths so that a person with autism spectrum disorder can become a very successful person.
The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autism’s early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, behaviors become apparent as late as age 2 or 3. Some of these signs are:
These signs may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of these, ask your pediatrician or a doctor for an evaluation.
Level 1: Requires Support
Level 1 ASD is the mildest form of autism. Children with level 1 ASD have a hard time communicating appropriately with others. For example, they may not say the right thing at the right time or be able to read social cues and body language.
A person with ASD level 1 usually can speak in complete sentences and communicate but has trouble engaging in back-and-forth conversations with others. They may try to make friends but not be very successful.
They may also have trouble moving from one activity to another or trying new things. Additionally, they may have problems with organization and planning, preventing them from being as independent as other people their age.
Level 2: Requires Substantial Support
People with ASD level 2 will have more obvious verbal and social communication problems than those diagnosed with level 1. Likewise, they will find it harder to change focus or move from one activity to the next.
Children with level 2 tend to have very narrow interests and engage in repetitive behaviors that can make it difficult for them to function in certain situations.3 For example, they may pace back and forth or say the same thing over and over again.
A person diagnosed with ASD level 2 tends to speak in simple sentences and also struggles with nonverbal forms of communication.
Level 3: Requires Very Substantial Support
Level 3 is the most severe form of autism. Children in this category will have many of the same behaviors as those with levels 1 and 2 but to a more extreme degree.
Problems expressing themselves verbally and nonverbally can make it very hard to function, interact socially, and deal with a change in focus or location. Engaging in repetitive behaviors is another symptom of level 3 ASD.
A person with ASD level 3 will have a limited ability to speak clearly and rarely start interacting with other people. When they do, they will do so awkwardly. Someone with Level 3 will also respond only to straightforward social approaches from other people.