Despite growing awareness about autism, one-fourth of children under age 8 with autism spectrum disorder remain undiagnosed, reveals a new study.
The researchers cited various reasons for the disparity, including communication or cultural barriers between minority parents and physicians, anxiety about the complicated diagnostic process and fear of stigma. Many parents whose children are diagnosed later often attribute their first concerns to a behavioral or medical issue rather than a developmental problem - they say.
Early Signs of Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically appears during the early years of life. Early assessment and intervention can help reduce progressive symptom development. In addition to language delays and behavioural differences, parents may notice differences in the way their child interacts with peers. Here are some early signs that you may help identify children with autism. These involve social, communication, and behavioural differences:
A child with ASD might not respond to their parents' smile or other facial expressions
At 12 months, s/he doesn't turn to look even after you call his/her name repeated several times
An autistic kid may not make eye contact or makes very little eye contact. S/he may not look at objects or events you are pointing to
A child with ASD is typically unable to make friends or shows less interest in making friends
S/he may not point at things to show needs or share things with others
If even by 16 months of age, your child is not able to say single words. It may be a sign of autism.
See if your child is repeating exactly what others say without understanding the meaning like parroting.
An autistic kid may find difficulty with change or transition from one activity to another. S/he likes routines, order, and rituals.
An autistic kid may get obsessed with a few or unusual activities, and repeat them multiple times during the day
If your child likes playing with parts of toys instead of the whole toy, it is a sign you need to worry about.
The researcher suggested that screening all toddlers, pre-school and school-age children for autism could help reduce the disparities in diagnosis. In addition, experts can overcome communication barriers by using pictures and employing patient navigators to help families understand the diagnosis process, test results and treatment recommendations, they added.