Warning Signs and Behaviors of Childhood Disorders, Part I: Autism

  How could I know the difference between a warning sign and an appropriate behavior?
answer: Know the warning signs.

    Having worked with many parents and professionals advocating for children, I have often heard how they’ve observed certain ‘warning signs’ or behaviors over time and without enough suspicion to seek professional assessment. Many of these parents have communicated how they thought very little of these behaviors and simply attributed them to their child’s uniqueness and personality. It has been difficult and heart-breaking having then had to explain test results to parents of a child found with symptoms of a childhood disorder – especially having had these symptoms being observed for some time without much knowledge of them being ‘warning signs’.

I.Warning Signs and Behaviors: Autism
• impaired use of nonverbal behaviors in socialization
(eye contact, facial expressions, body postures, gestures)
• failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to
development level
• lack of seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or
achievements spontaneously with others
• lack of social or emotional expression/ reciprocity
• delay or total lack of verbal language development
without attempts to compensate
• impairment in ability to initiate or sustain a conversation
with others (in children who have adequate speech)
• lack of various, spontaneous make-believe play or
social imitative play appropriate for age/level
• significant preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and
restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal by
intensity or focus.
• stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms
(hand or finger flapping or twisting, complex whole
body movements)
• persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

Autism is a broad term for a disorder that is significant for abnormal or impaired development of social interaction, communication and with a restricted repertoire of activities and interests. The above listing are some of the warning signs or behaviors significant of autism.


Note: The above list provided is not intended for the use of diagnosing disorders. Disorders are diagnosed by the severity, frequency and a combination of many factors. Please seek professional advice should any of the above listed criteria cause any concern.
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