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Healthy & Safety Info
Autism in Children
Odds are that you’ve heard about autism — its prevalence has demanded an increased focus from both the medical community and society in general — but do you know what it is? A general term used to describe numerous complex developmental brain disorders, autism occurs in every ethnic and socioeconomic group and affects all age groups.
As researchers learn more about autism and related autism spectrum disorders, studies show that in some cases these can be diagnosed in toddlers. So how do you know what signs can alert you to a potential problem?
Parents of kids with autism often have a sense that something isn’t right with their children. The more common feature of autism is impaired social interaction. In little ones, look for difficulty in initiating communication (such as being consistently reluctant to seek your help when she needs it). A child with autism might also lack the use of sounds, words, or gestures to communicate with you, or she might repeat a word or phrase frequently.
Autistic children often show abnormalities in interacting and sharing experiences with others; they might not understand social cues such as facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice. Parents might notice “different” behaviors such as a failure to make eye contact or hear what someone is saying, or the child might have an unusual ability such as memorizing data such as numbers or lists.
The good news is that early detection and treatment can significantly reduce the severity of autism and autism spectrum disorders, so if you suspect something is not quite right with your toddler, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns about her development with her pediatrician.
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