Identifying 3 Signs of Autism

Identifying 3 Signs of Autism

How do I know if I am on the Spectrum?

As its name suggests, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a wide range of experiences, so it is usual for individuals who meet some signs of autism, such as repetitive behaviors, difficulty communicating, and socializing, among others, to question: how do I know if I am on the spectrum? For parents and caregivers, it is a challenge to identify and take the significant step of diagnosing autism in their children.

Our society tends to have preconceived ideas about what autism should be like, which have been perpetuated by the media, presenting an unrealistic image of this condition.

People sometimes anticipate that individuals on the autism spectrum will be nearly non-verbal or struggle to communicate beyond a few words, all while possessing exceptional IQ, memory, or talents in areas like mathematics. Essentially, when they think of autism, they envision a savant who displays puzzling outbursts.

This image rarely corresponds to reality, as autism can manifest subtly, and professionals, such as ABA therapists, can effectively treat it. Neurodivergent individuals usually lead a social, functional, and satisfying life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people diagnosed with autism is increasing, with one in 36 (2.8%) 8-year-olds identified with autism. In Virginia alone, there are an estimated 155,557 cases of individuals on the spectrum.

Join us in this blog by ABA Centers of Virginia as we delve into the world of autism awareness. Let’s explore some common signs of autism and gain insights into how to treat it effectively through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.

1. Impaired Social Interaction

One of the most apparent signs of autism is impaired social interaction. Children with autism often struggle with making eye contact, responding to their name, and understanding social cues. According to the National Library of Medicine, children with autism tend to exhibit less joint attention and social reciprocity compared to typically developing children.

Some traits in this category may include:

  • You experience challenges in maintaining eye contact.
  • You tend to take things literally, making it challenging to grasp humor, sarcasm, idiomatic expressions, or figurative language.
  • Navigating personal space boundaries can be problematic, as you may only sometimes be aware of getting too close or too far from others.
  • People may describe you as impolite or overly assertive, which can come as a surprise to you.
  • Determining the appropriate volume when speaking is a constant struggle, and you often require assistance to adapt your conversational tone to match the context.
  • Engaging in small talk feels unbearable, and you often need support to participate in such conversations.
  • Building and maintaining friendships is challenging, and you may find it perplexing that people don’t respond to you as expected and abruptly end conversations.
  • Social situations tend to trigger anxiety, especially when multiple simultaneous conversations are happening.
  • Your interests and habits may be relatively niche, and your peers of the same age might perceive them as excessively specific or not age-appropriate.
  • You find it challenging to adapt to new situations and prefer sticking to established routines. Changes in conditions and unpredictable schedules can be complex for you.

If you’ve noticed several or most of these traits in yourself, it may suggest that you are on the autism spectrum, even if you haven’t realized it yet!

2. Sensory Sensitivities

Sensory sensitivity is a significant part of the signs of autism, which refers to the exaggerated or atypical responses that individuals on the spectrum may have to sensory stimuli in their environment. Some common characteristics of sensory sensitivities and signs of autism include:

  • You experience discomfort responding to loud noises and bright lights and often yearn for a more peaceful environment. You might even find yourself instinctively covering your eyes or ears.
  • You have a strong desire for specific tactile sensations, leading you to seek out certain textures.
  • You avoid crowded places, such as bars, concerts, or other settings with numerous sensory stimuli.
  • You possess a keen ability to notice details that often elude others, such as specific smells or subtle patterns.
  • Your eating habits are selective, and you have a limited range of foods you are comfortable with. Trying new foods can be challenging due to taste, texture, or lack of familiarity.
  • To alleviate stress or block out unwanted sensory input, you engage in repetitive movements involving your hands, objects, or facial tics.
  • You have experienced sensory overload in the past, where you become emotionally or physically overwhelmed to the point that you need to withdraw and spend time alone, away from the social event or function you were attending.

3. Ealy Signs of Autism

Infancy and childhood are the stages when autism-related facets are most apparent. As well as identifying signs of autism early, early intervention is crucial in autism therapy because it helps children develop coping strategies to navigate the world and acquire and master healthy behaviors that promote their overall well-being quickly.

According to the National Institute of Health, early intervention in some cases progresses so smoothly that some children are no longer on the autism spectrum when they are older.

You may have noticed or heard about some of the early signs of autism in yourself or your loved ones:

  • You experienced a delay in language acquisition. By the age of 12 months, children with ASD typically use few or no words, and by 24 months, they may not yet be using two-word phrases.
  • You displayed minimal interest in communication during early childhood, struggling to express emotions or explain behaviors, which could lead to delayed potty training.
  • You often preferred pointing at objects rather than verbally requesting them.
  • You may have exhibited echolalia, repeating words and phrases without conveying meaning, even past the age when language acquisition typically occurs.
  • You tended to have meltdowns when your requests were not understood or acted upon.
  • You consistently maintained a small circle of friends, preferring solitary play or time alone.

These are developmental milestones associated with autism that may have been overlooked and untreated in the past. Fortunately, increased autism awareness has empowered individuals to recognize these signs and make positive strides toward acquiring healthy behaviors that contribute to their personal and professional growth.

The Potential of Applied Behavior Analysis

When treating and managing autism, ABA therapy is a personalized and evidence-based approach that has proven effective. It focuses on addressing the specific needs and challenges of individuals on the autism spectrum, helping them acquire essential skills and reduce problematic behaviors.

Early intervention with ABA therapy is meaningful for children, as it can significantly impact their development and improve their long-term outcomes.

What’s excellent about ABA therapy is that it’s not limited to a specific age group; it can benefit individuals of all ages. For adolescents and adults, it can help with developing life skills, vocational training, and social integration – all of which can lead to a more independent and fulfilling life.

Moreover, ABA therapy empowers caregivers and teaches them valuable strategies to support neurodiverse individuals, creating a nurturing environment that fosters growth and enhances their quality of life.

ABA Centers of Virginia and Autism Signs

Understanding the common signs of autism is a critical step toward early diagnosis and appropriate intervention. Identifying whether you or your loved one has autism will lead to tailored therapies that can make a significant difference in life.

At ABA Centers of Virginia, we know that each person with autism is unique. Our team of professionals can assist you in obtaining an accurate diagnosis and guide you in developing a personalized ABA therapy plan. We also support family members to ensure that everyone involved in the process is well-informed and equipped to help individuals with autism thrive.

If you’re seeking a partner on this journey, contact us at (855) 957-1892 or visit our contact page. Let’s embark on growth, learning, and positive change together.

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