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Does My Child Have Autism?

Autism is a common condition that can be treated when it is detected at its earliest stages. Diagnosing a child with autism cannot be done with blood work and/or a physical examination. Rather, a doctor or health care practitioner will look for the typical signs of autism. Autism does not affect the child’s physical appearance. In order to diagnose a child with autism, he or she must demonstrate some of the most common behavioral signs of autism but are not limited to the following:

  1. Social Interaction
  • Avoids eye contact, poor use of facial expressions, odd body orientation during social interaction and minimal to no use of gestures to regulate social interaction
  • A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others (for example, the child does not bring things to show his parents)
  • A lack of social or emotional reciprocity (for example, the child does not participate in simple social games, such as “peek-a-boo”)
  1. Communication
  • Delay of spoken language (for example, lack of or loss of previous spoken language)
  • Impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • Stereotyped, non-functional, and repetitive use of language (for example, the child may say words or phrases out of context)
  • A lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
  1. Behavior and interests
  • Preoccupation with inappropriate use of toys or materials
  • Follow nonfunctional routines or rituals (as in insisting on following a particular route or drinking from a particular cup)
  • Difficulty transitioning from one location to another or from a preferred to a non preferred activity
  • Persistent preoccupation with nonfunctional parts of objects (focusing on a wheel or door of a toy car as opposed to playing with the toy car)