The island of savant syndrome genius
According to world research, children with Savant syndrome (autistic people who have an "island of genius") make up no more than 10% of all children with autism spectrum disorders. However, British scientists who conducted a survey of parents of children with autism believe that there are more than 30% of such children.
I recall one mother who was very worried that her son was not autistic and did not have a genius in the area in which she would like
If she knew exactly what autism is, then she would radically change her opinion about the "best wishes" for the child.
Basically, the development of children with autism, in the absence of psychological and pedagogical work with them, leads to the registration of disability by school age.
According to WHO data for 2013, 1 in 160 children in the world are born with autism spectrum disorders. And according to the latest published data, in the United States, 1 in 59 children (2018 study).
What is Autism?
A complete answer to this question is impossible, because no one really knows what it is. There are many theories for the development of autism, but none of them has clear scientific evidence. Only its manifestations are most understandable, although they can be extremely varied.
The triad of autism manifestations:
violation of social interaction (both with other children and with parents);
same type (repeating) circle of interests;
difficulties in communication.
Parents often call these children "self-sufficient" and do not pay attention to the early signs of the development of the disease.
Lack of speech before the age of three is already a little more frightening for parents. When contacting specialists, they often hear: “don't worry”, “outgrow”, “speak up”, “come back after three years”
And only in kindergarten, when it becomes clear that the child not only lacks speech, but also does not develop interaction with other children, parents begin to "sound the alarm." At this age, of course, children can be included in an active rehabilitation program, but the effect of this program will not be as pronounced as when applying for one and a half to two years.
How to recognize?
No one, except the child's parents, will be able to see the problem before others. What should dad and mom first pay attention to?
The early signs are called
autism red flags. Checkbox 1
Other children with autism in the family
If the closest relatives in the family (brothers or sisters) are diagnosed with autism, this is a reason to see a doctor. According to researchers, the likelihood of developing autism with a diagnosis in older children increases by 18%.
The risk is even higher if the child's older sister is diagnosed with autism. And if the family has two children with autism, the risk rises to 33%. If dad is older than mom, and besides, mom developed diabetes during pregnancy, this also speaks of the possible development of autism in the child.
As practice shows, the usual question about the presence of mental or neurological diseases in parents, grandparents, any relatives on the side of the father or mother leads to a negative answer in 90% of cases.
Parents need to remember whether parents, brothers or sisters had problems with communication, social adaptation, whether they observed certain rituals
The answers to these simple questions will suggest a possible hereditary cause of autism.
Lack or impaired eye contact with parents at six months of age
According to recent research, one of the earliest signs of autism is impaired eye contact. Parents are the first to notice this when a child at the age of six months does not look them in the eyes, or looks “in passing”. They are also confused by the lack of a response smile.
According to recent research from the Center for the Study of Autism at the University of Cambridge, children at risk do not fix their gaze on the eyes of their parents, but on the area of their mouth
The baby does not exchange sounds, smiles or other facial expressions at the age of nine months
A normally developing child at the age of nine months imitates adults, smiles and enjoys fun games with parents. He shows interest in the games of other children, shows his emotions with facial expressions - joy, resentment, interest, attention. At this age, babbling is noted in the child, he speaks separate syllables.
For children with autism, none of the above is common. They mostly play with the same toy, do not play with adults and other children, and do not express emotions. Checkbox 4
Lack of reaction to one's name, babbling and communicative gestures by 12 months
If the child's behavior from nine months to one year does not develop a desire to interact (the baby does not reach out to his parents, does not ask for hands), there are no speech functions and he does not respond to his name, this is a reason for going to the doctor.
This does not mean that the child has autism, it is possible that there is a hearing impairment. The child simply does not hear you, so he does not develop speech and reaction to the name, but this does not exclude interaction with parents.
Missing individual words by 16 months
If there are no problems with hearing, but speech does not develop, it is necessary to continue the search for the reasons, not excluding the possible development of autism.
The age from 16 to 18 months is very important, since up to this age the child can develop absolutely normally and not cause any concerns for parents or specialists. And from one and a half years, the child may begin a pronounced "rollback in development." He loses his acquired skills and develops the “autism triad”.
No pointing gesture by 18 months
By the age of one and a half, the baby should start pointing with his finger at what he wants, or at what surprises or interests him. This is not the case for children with autism. They can use the pointing gesture only to satisfy their needs.
If a child with autism disorder points out something, he never looks to see if his parents are paying attention to what interests him
Very often, children with similar disorders use the hands of their parents to satisfy their needs. For example, a child takes one of the parents by the brush, leads him to the kitchen, and places his palm on a bag of juice if he is thirsty.
Lack of phrases of two or more words by two years
Delayed speech development and lack of speech by the age of two, with hearing loss, should also alert parents. Children with autism can communicate in separate words that address their needs. For example, "bread", "drink", "walk". Usually the pronunciation of these words is monotonous, without any emotional coloring or appeal to any of the adults.
Automatic repetitions and self-referral in the third person
Automatic repetitions of other people's speech are also common.
Children verbatim repeat dialogues from films or cartoons, heard phrases of strangers
These are repetitions with full emotional coloring, in the form in which the child heard the phrases. For example, a boy of two and a half years, who had never said anything to his parents before, repeatedly without hesitation repeated the words "World War II", which he heard on TV.
Stereotypical rituals without switching
Stereotypical interests are one of the symptoms of the "autism triad". The rituals in autism are always the same and are accompanied by a pronounced reaction on the part of the child when trying to interrupt them. It can be a cry, tears, a desire in all possible ways to return to the performance of your ritual.
The most noticeable at an early age are games with pouring water from glass into glass, opening and closing doors, turning on and off lights
These rituals can last for hours without the ability to distract from them with other stimuli. In the region of two or three years, the rituals become more complicated, children begin to lay out their toys in rows. If a parent disrupts the order in these rows, rearranges at least one toy, he will have a violent emotional reaction.
Multiple repetitions of non-targeted movements
The palette of stereotyped movements is very diverse - from shaking the hands to running back and forth along the fence on the street. These movements have no purpose or meaning. There is a theory that such repetitive movements reduce anxiety in children with autism and calm them down.
Any loss of speech and social skills
In addition to childhood autism, autism spectrum disorders include seven other diseases that can manifest themselves at different ages. For example, the development of signs of atypical childhood autism begins after three years, and before that, the child's health did not raise any suspicions. Therefore, any loss of speech and social skills in childhood is a reason for an immediate visit to a doctor.
The eleven autism red flags should be known to every parent of a child under three. Using this diagnostic tool, you can sound the alarm in time, seek help from specialists and, in the literal sense of the word, save a child's life
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