Identifying Infant Autism

Till date, there are no medical tests like x-rays or blood tests that detect infant autism. Emerging in childhood, it affects about 1 or 2 people in every thousand and is three to four times more common in boys than girls. And no two babies with infant autism disorder behave the same way. In addition, several conditions can cause symptoms that resemble those of infant autism.

So parents and the child's pediatrician need to rule out other disorders, including hearing loss, speech problems, mental retardation, and neurological problems while diagnosing autism. But once these possibilities have been eliminated, a visit to a professional who specializes in infant autism is necessary. Such specialists include people with the professional titles of child psychiatrist, child psychologist, developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist.Infant autism specialists use a variety of methods to identify the disorder.

Using a standardized rating scale, the specialist closely observes and evaluates the child's language and social behavior. To identify infant autism, a structured interview is also used to elicit information from parents about the child's behavior and early development. The specialists may also test for certain genetic and neurological problems related to autism. Infant autism is found in every country and region of the world, and in families of racial, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds.

Children do not follow the typical patterns of child development. In some children, hints of future problems may be apparent from birth. In infant autism cases, the problems become more noticeable as the child slips farther behind other children the same age. Other children start off well enough. However, there is help-and hope. Gone are the days when children with infant autism were isolated, typically sent away to institutions. Even so, years may go by before the family seeks a diagnosis on infant autism. Well-meaning friends and relatives sometimes help parents ignore the problems with reassurances that "Every child is different" and unfortunately, those only delays getting appropriate assessment and treatment for the child.





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