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Recognising the early signs of autism

Coloured wooden blocks spell out the word Autism - how to recognise the early signs of autismAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurological disorder that can impact an individual’s ability to communicate, regulate their behaviour and interact socially.

The symptoms typically appear in the first three years of life and can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations from mild to severe.

Currently, ASD affects 1 in 58 children and is five times more common in boys than girls.

Between 2012 and 2015, there has been a 40 per cent increase in autism diagnoses. The increase in diagnoses is likely due to a number of factors including increased assessment opportunities, better awareness by pediatricians, teachers and parents, increased services offerings and changes in the diagnostic criteria. A lot of children that were previously getting diagnosed incorrectly with ADHD or ADD, are now receiving an autism diagnosis.

What signs of autism should you look our for?

If you are concerned about your child being on the spectrum, the ‘red flags’ that you should be looking out for are:

  • Not responding to their name by 12 months of age
  • Not pointing at objects to show interest (i.e. pointing at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not playing pretending games (e.g. pretending to feed a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
  • Having trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Having delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeating words or phrases over and over
  • Giving unrelated answers to questions
  • Getting upset by minor changes
  • Having obsessive interests
  • Flapping their hands, rocking their body or spinning in circles
  • Having unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel.

If a child is demonstrating some or all of these sorts of symptoms, parents are strongly advised to seek further information from their pediatrician or a specialist autism service who can diagnose whether the child is on the autism spectrum.

It is extremely important that parents act quickly if they suspect their child may be exhibiting some of the symptoms of autism. Studies have shown that the best outcomes are achieved when treatment is started as early as possible.


The Bub Hub is proud to support Irabina Autism Services

Irabina is a not-for-profit organisation supporting children and their families adapt to the challenges of living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Visit irabina.com

About Debra Goldfinch

Deb is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Irabina Autism Services. Irabina Autism Services specialises in delivering programs for children and adolescents diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their ...

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