Early Signs and Symptoms of Autism

 When my son Jack was born, I remember eagerly anticipating that first doctor’s appointment. I had so many questions and two weeks to try and navigate those overwhelming newborn days seemed like a lifetime.

When we finally did get to that appointment, the questions and concerns just poured out of me. When would he be more alert? Was it ok that he slept all day and cried all night? When would he smile? Was everything ok?

My doctor, thankfully, an incredibly kind, patient man and a father himself, took my rambling nervous questions in stride. He still does, three years later.

“Yes,” he always says. “That’s normal.”

But what happens when things aren’t normal? What happens when you have that nagging fear that something with your child just isn’t right?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities. The disorder is characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills and social abilities. There is a range of how much it impacts a person’s functioning, but can be very mild to severe. Usually, there is nothing about how a person with an ASD looks that sets them apart from other people, but they may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most people.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a child or adult with an ASD might display some or all of the following behaviors:

  • Prefer not to cuddle or be held
  • Lose skills they once had (for instance, stop using words they once were using)
  • Avoid eye contact and wants to be alone
  • Appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds
  • Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • Repeat actions over and over again
  • Have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel or sound

An excellent resource if you have questions about your child’s development, is to start with a free developmental screening. Answer questions about your child and results will be referred to your physician and Children’s Village. Click HERE to learn more.

“The first and best resource is to talk to your pediatrician,” speech and language pathologist and Children’s Village autism coordinator Cindy Carroll said.

Another resource we are lucky to have in the Yakima Valley is to call Children’s Village.

“Children’s Village is here to coordinate and support families,” Carroll said. “The pathway to screening and diagnosis is exhaustive but fluid.”

In Yakima, an estimated 925 children ages birth to 18-years-old are on the autism spectrum. Children’s Village provides multidisciplinary autism diagnostic services through a collaborative approach including a neurodevelopmental pediatrician, mental health therapists and physical and speech therapists. The multidisciplinary diagnostic clinic is particularly unique as it is one of 6 in Washington State.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Family support groups, children’s activities, medical specialty clinics, and so much more happen through Children’s Village.

If you have questions or concerns about your child, talk to your doctor or call Children’s Village at (509) 574-3200.

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