Autism Symptoms

You can observe some Autism symptoms in a person as young as two years old and sometimes even younger. Here are the main Autism symptoms that will allow you to identify or wonder if your a member of your family, a friend or anyone else might be affected by this disorder. The severity of these Autism symptoms may vary as each individual is unique. That is why it is evaluated on a spectrum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mother speaks out on Autism Symptoms

-- Simple signs may be the key to detecting autism at an early age.
It can be as simple as a child not having warm, joyful expressions by 6 months old, not gesturing by 9 months old or not speaking by 16 months old.
These red flags don't mean the child will have autism, but it means he is at risk, said Nancy Wiseman, the mother of an autistic child and founder of First Signs -- a national, nonprofit dedicated to educating doctors, educators and parents about the early signs.
Any child displaying signs that deviate from healthy development needs to be evaluated, she said.
"Screening can be simple, taking no more than five minutes. Through observation, screening and sharing with parents, you can ensure each child's healthy development," Wiseman said. "The key is early detection."
In the midst of the national month of awareness for autism, Delaware is launching the First Signs training program to inform physicians and health care professionals how to detect the early warning signs of autism.
The state-wide program coincides with a national effort to also educate parents about healthy development, urging them to "Learn the signs. Act early."
If physicians can recognize an autistic child early in his life, Delaware Lt. Gov. John Carney said, it can help improve the child's and his family's quality of life.
"Our education, social service and health care systems are not effectively identifying ASD (autism spectrum disorders) during the early years, under age 3, when interventions are most effective," he said. "In fact, by kindergarten enrollment, only 30 percent of children with developmental delays have been identified. Pediatricians and other medical practitioners lack the training, tools and time."
Through Delaware First Signs, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can receive training, screening kits and Continuing Medical Education credits.
By heightening awareness, Delaware hopes the program will improve the frequency and quality of screenings, facilitate timely referrals and lower the average detection age.
Autism is not only a personal battle for Carney, whose niece is autistic, but as chairman of the Delaware Health Commission, he knows early detection can be positive for families and clinically beneficial.
"In the long run," Carney said, "early detection can save time, money and heartache."

Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Autism Symptoms

The clinical onset of autism appears to be preceded by two phases of brain growth abnormality, according to a study published in the July 16, 2003, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
"Behavioral signs and symptoms during the second and third years of life, including delayed speech, unusual social and emotional reactions, and poor attention to and exploration of the environment, raise warnings that a child might have autism," the authors provide as background information in the article. "Autism is a neurobiological disorder, and neurobiological abnormalities must necessarily precede the first behavioral expressions of the disorder. However, such neurobiological early warning signs have not yet been discovered for autism."
Eric Courchesne, PhD, from the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, and colleagues analyzed data, including head circumference (HC), body length and body weight measurements, from the medical records of 48 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aged two to five years. The children had previously participated in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies reporting age-related changes in the brain in autism.
Of the 48 participants with ASD, 15 (12 males and 3 females) had pediatric HC measurements at four age periods: birth, one to two months, three to five months, and six to 14 months, and were termed the longitudinal group. The remaining 33 children (29 males and 4 females) were termed the partial HC data group because they had HC measurements at birth and six to 14 months (n=7) and at birth only (n= 28). Two of the participants did not have a birth HC measurement, but did have an HC measurement at two weeks of age.
"This is the first study to our knowledge to find a potential early warning biological sign for autism and to link it to a later brain abnormality," the authors write. "Specifically, we found a rapid and excessive increase in HC measurements, and therefore, presumably, brain size, beginning several months after birth. This abnormally accelerated rate of increase in HC measurements in infants with ASD was evident in comparisons to two nationally recognized normative databases, one a national cross-sectional survey and the other a longitudinal study of growth patterns in healthy infants. In our study, head size increased from the 25th percentile based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) averages of healthy infants to the 84th percentile in six to 14 months. This excessive increase occurred well before the typical onset of clinical behavioral symptoms," the authors report.
The researchers add that only six percent of the individual healthy infants in the longitudinal data showed accelerated HC growth trajectories from birth to six to 14 months; 59 percent of infants with autistic disorder showed these accelerated growth trajectories.
"Although an abnormally large increase in HC in an infant cannot be viewed as a certain and unique marker of autism, it nonetheless does appear to be an important signal that an infant is at significantly heightened risk for the disorder," the authors write in conclusion