Mild autism symptoms in toddlers can be depicted through the following illustration about Grace. Jane is the mother of Grace. Her toddler is 24 months and she feels something happens to her child. Whenever she or her husband tries to grab Grace’s attention, the baby just looks at other things. The parents keep trying to attract her with songs or toys but it doesn’t work. The baby’s hearing is fine and nothing wrong with it; but then when the parents call her name, there is no respond from Grace. It happens repeatedly so that it starts to make the parents worry.
As parents, you must be worried when something unusual or wrong happens to your precious little angel. You don’t want your lovely toddler has problems; especially the problem is related to autism symptoms. However, when the problem comes to autism, as parents, you must overcome it soon. The earlier the better; but if you realize it late, don’t lose your hope. Everything can change as time goes by the treatments. Therefore, parents need to educate themselves by understanding any information related to autism including the definition, early signs, causes, prevention, and treatment.
What is mild autism?
Autism is a spectrum disorder which makes the individuals with it uneasy to focus. It is called spectrum because the symptoms range from mild to more severe disorder obviously. Mild autism, which is also called high functioning autism, is a condition of the disorder in which the individuals seem normal but they actually need special treatment to overcome the disorder. Severe autism is a condition of the disorder which is more complicated. Individuals with severe autism look very different from normal people; they are usually difficult to control themselves or be controlled.
What are the characteristics of mild autism?
Toddlers with mild autism usually show some special characteristics which do not really appear in normal individuals, such as:
- Eye contact: The individuals make short and quick eye contact. When you communicate with them, they usually only make eye contact once or twice in a time.
- Social interaction: The toddlers make social interaction. They are willing to make friends but they do not know how to do it.
- Gestures: Awkward or inconsistent gestures appear in the individuals. They also understand basic gesture meaning such as, pointing, nodding, and waving hands.
- Sharing experience: While individuals with severe autism share no experience, toddlers with the mild disorder might share their experience when other people ask them to do so.
- Language use: The individuals are able to use verbal language but they are sometimes uneasy to utter functional language to say what they want. The individuals often use repetition of words or phrases while communicating.
- Conversation: The toddlers are able to start and go on conversation with others. They are also able to ask questions to start a conversation.
- Routine: They may feel bothered when something disturbs their routine. However, they are able to recover their feelings towards the disruptions.
- Behaviour: The individuals has tendency to chew something or move the body to the back and front. Besides that, they produce very little speech or even don’t babble.
What common behaviour occurs?
Observing the behaviour of the toddlers is important to make sure whether they have the disorder. Children with the disorder have tendency to show such behaviour. They keep flapping hands, gazing at the lights, banging head, tapping their ears, scratching body or things, spinning their body or toys, repeating particular phrases or noises, and rocking their body to the back and front. Realizing these tendencies early can help parents to overcome the problem, such as giving intensive special treatment.
What factors cause autism?
Autism is mostly caused by prenatal factors. A pregnant woman should avoid the use of such drug to reduce feelings of worry and sadness; this kind of drug is known as anti-depressant. Consuming anti-depressant in the first 3 months of pregnancy makes your baby potentially get the disorder. Besides that, a pregnant woman who is lack of folic acids in her early months of pregnancy potentially delivers the baby with the problem.
The age of the parents also causes this disorder. Toddlers who are born from elder parents, approximately above 35, possibly suffer from autism, either mild or severe. Moreover, the disorder may occur to the baby if the mother is infected by viruses or exposed by chemicals, such as pesticide or pollution, during the pregnancy.
How to reduce the risk?
The mother is the first person to reduce the risk of the disorder because the factors of autism occur since in the pregnancy. Taking multivitamins especially which contain folic acid can reduce the risk. According to Harvard Health Publications, consuming nutritious food, having regular check-up and vaccination can prevent infections caused by virus or bacteria. Furthermore, preventing depression or even drug consumption is necessary to do.
What treatments to give?
The treatment for mild and severe autism is different in its portion. It really depends on the toddlers’ needs. Treatments such as behavioural and speech therapies, integration of sensory, and social skill development activities are needed for children with the disorder. Here are some examples of the activities done in each treatment:
- Behavioural therapy: downplaying by using visual or verbal prompters, holding, redirecting, and modelling attention
- Speech therapy: retrieving words, processing receptive and expressive utterances
- Integration of sensory: reducing movements by organizing behaviour
- Social skill development activities: playing with humour, grabbing attention through understanding idioms, and answering comprehensive questions
It’s never too late to give the treatment for toddlers with mild autism. However, it is necessary to know the symptoms as early as possible. The earlier parents know, the better it will be; the earlier the treatment is given, the more effective it will be. As a conclusion, parents must know the development of their own children. Taking care and paying attention to each level of growth is obligatory roles for parents. Therefore, whenever you, as parents, find the unusual or awkward behaviour on their toddlers, don’t hesitate to consult the specialist. This is the early and important step to take in order to detect mild autism symptoms in toddlers.