World Autism Awareness Day 2023: Various developmental and behavioral disorders can affect individuals, including the possibility of developing autism, which is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects how an individual interacts with their surroundings and other people. Globally, autism is estimated to affect around 1 in 100 children, with diagnosis usually made during early childhood between the ages of 2 to 3 years old. However, early signs can be observed in infants as young as 6 months old.
Early signs of autism in children include:
- Not making eye contact: Infants avoid eye contact or fail to maintain it when interacting with caregivers.
- Delayed response: They may have delayed or limited communication skills. They may not coo, babble, or use gestures as much as their typically developing peers.
- Not up for social interaction: Children may not respond to their names, smile back at others, or show interest in what other people are doing.
- Recurring actions: Repetitive behaviors are common in kids with autism, such as rocking, hand flapping, or spinning objects.
- Hypersensitive: Some infants with autism may be hypersensitive to touch, sound, or light.
Children who are diagnosed with autism at an early age may have differences in brain activity compared to other infants. A study from the University of California, San Diego, showed that infants who later developed autism had weaker connections between certain areas of the brain. Furthermore, children with autism as young as 6 months old may begin to exhibit decreased eye contact, making social interactions and bonding more challenging.
It is essential to keep in mind that not all infants who show early signs of autism will develop the disorder, but early diagnosis and intervention can help with its management and treatment. Therefore, parents should schedule an appointment with their child's pediatrician or a qualified healthcare professional if they observe any signs of autism in their child. Early detection can lead to improved outcomes for children with autism.
(This article is attributed to Dr. Kushbu Goel, Consultant- Neurology, HCMCT Manipal Hospital Dwarka)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)