Every child develops at a different pace, and that’s okay as long as developmental milestones are met within a certain timeframe. If you notice that your child is developing more slowly than children of the same age, is having trouble communicating with you, is avoiding eye contact, is exhibiting behavioral outbursts — or has lost previously acquired skills — talk to your pediatrician, as these are some early signs of autism in children.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder (related to the nervous system) marked by impaired social interaction and communication skills, and repetitive behaviors. It’s a “spectrum” disorder, which means symptoms and functioning can range from mild to severe.
Traditionally, the term “autism” has been used to diagnose children with symptoms on the more severe end of the spectrum, and the terms “Asperger syndrome” and “pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified” (PDD-NOS) have been used to diagnose children on the milder end of the autism spectrum.
Today, these types are collectively referred to as “autism spectrum disorder,” or ASD. This is because while all children with autism have difficulties along one or more of the same areas of development, they do not share the exact same symptoms or patterns of behavior.
Nemours Specialists Are Experts at Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children
Diagnosing children with an autism spectrum disorder is complex and requires comprehensive evaluation by experienced pediatric specialists in different medical disciplines. Early intervention is proven to significantly improve symptoms and offer your child the best chance to adapt, grow and thrive into adulthood. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor sooner, rather than later.
At Nemours, our teams of autism specialists — including psychologists and psychiatrists, child neurologists, neuropsychologists, developmental pediatricians, occupational/speech and language therapists, and applied behavior analysis therapists — provide compassionate, comprehensive autism evaluations and treatments to help your child have the brightest, most productive future possible.