There are many signs that point to autism spectrum disorder, and noticing those signs in your child may seem scary at first.
But once you have answers to your questions, there are many promising steps you can take to ensure a happy and healthy life for your child.
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder may have unique challenges, but there are ways to ensure they have a great quality of life.
First, it’s important to understand what autism spectrum disorder is and how it may affect your child.
From there, a pediatric therapist can help design a unique treatment plan for your child that truly supports and helps them.
Pediatric therapy for autism spectrum disorder is a great option to empower your child.
Today, let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions we hear about autism spectrum disorder, and some answers.
That way, you can have a better understanding of what autism is, what it isn’t, and how you can best support your autistic child through their life.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder.
This means that there are differences in an autistic person’s brain.
These differences cause them to think, behave, socialize, and learn differently from their peers.
Autistic children socialize differently from other children.
Autistic children also may have repetitive or restrictive behaviors, interests, and activities.
There is no one size fits all treatment for autistic kids, as every autistic child has unique needs.
As a result, it’s important to understand your child’s unique needs and how to best help them.
What Does The “Spectrum” Part Mean?
Autism manifests differently in each person, making it a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder.
As a result, some autistic kids need more support than others.
Not all autistic people share the same difficulties.
While there are common signs and challenges, autism presents itself differently in each individual.
As a result, the disorder is described as being a spectrum.
What we consider today to be “autism spectrum disorder” is actually a combination of several diagnoses from the past.
- Asperger syndrome
- Autistic disorder
- Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
How Can I Tell If My Child Is Autistic?
There are many different signs of autism you might recognize in children.
These can show up very early in life, sometimes by their first birthday or earlier – but more on that later.
As your child grows, some signs they may be autistic include:
- Poor coordination and balance
- Gross and fine motor skills developmental delays
- Walking on their toes
- Difficulty adapting to changes in schedule or routine
- Difficulty transitioning from one task to another
- Poor posture
- Repetitive behavior
- Difficulty expressing emotions
- Difficulty making new friends
- Oversharing their own interests
- Struggling to pick up on nonverbal cues
- Oversensitivity to sounds, textures, or smells or other stimulus
- Seemingly always on the move
- Difficulty interacting with peers during play
If you suspect your child may be autistic, we can help.
There’s nothing to fear if your child is autistic.
Many autistic kids grow up to be successful, happy, well adjusted adults.
But they may need extra support at a younger age to help them thrive.
Getting your child screened for autism will help you make sure they get the help they need.
What Are The Signs Of Autism In Babies?
While signs of autism will become increasingly clear as your child gets older, there are indicators of autism in babies that you can look out for.
These include signs like:
- Not making eye contact
- Making few facial expressions
- Not gesturing or pointing
- Not laughing
- Not recognizing their name
- Not following commands
- Not crying
- Low or decreased interest in playing with toys
If you notice these signs, it’s a good idea to get your baby screened for autism.
As mentioned above, an autism diagnosis isn’t a bad thing.
In the past, we may have looked at autism as a negative thing, a problem that needs to be “fixed”, but that’s no longer the case.
But through neurodiversity affirming therapy, we work with autistic kids to help highlight their strengths, and provide support in areas they may need it.
What Causes Kids To Be Autistic?
Sometimes, autism can be traced to a specific genetic cause.
For example, Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
But in most cases, we don’t know.
There is, however, currently no reliable evidence that diet, environmental chemicals, or vaccines cause autism.
We also don’t have any evidence that anything you did as a parent caused your child to be autistic.
It’s a result of a combination of complicated factors that aren’t yet understood.
But it’s not a sign that you’re a bad parent, or that you did anything wrong.
Is Autism Contagious
In order for something to be contagious, it has to be caused by a pathogen – bacteria or viruses.
That’s not the case for autism.
So, it can’t be transmitted from person to person through contact or exposure.
It just doesn’t work that way.
Is There A Cure For Autism?
There is currently no known cure for autism, and it’s unlikely there ever will be one.
This is because autism is a condition that affects brain development.
Most autistic advocacy groups today advise not to focus on finding a “cure”.
Instead, the focus is on finding ways for autistic people to better navigate the world and integrate into society.
This means identifying the challenges autistic people face, and the kind of support they need to reach their full potential.
Autistic people can enjoy a great quality of life long term when they get the support that they need to thrive.
How Does Autism Affect Gross Motor Skills Development?
It’s important to remember that autism presents itself in varying ways and at varying levels in different children.
As a result, everyone is different.
However, autism may affect your child’s gross motor skills.
Here are some examples of gross motor skills that might be impacted by autism:
- The ability to throw
- The ability to catch
- The ability to kick
- Riding a bike
How Does Autism Affect Fine Motor Skills Development?
Like above, autism affects everybody differently.
However, in some cases, autistic kids have difficulty with fine motor skills development.
Fine motor skills are the smaller movements of your hands and fingers needed to perform all sorts of activities of daily living.
Here are some examples of skills your child may struggle with if they have fine motor skills deficits:
How Can Pediatric Therapy Help With Autism?
Every child is unique and therefore has unique experiences with autism.
The way your autistic child is treated will vary from how other autistic children are treated, based on their needs.
- Postural support
- Improving their ability to walk and run
- Improving their balance
- Improving their handwriting ability
- Improving their hand eye coordination
- Improving their personal hygiene and self care skills
- Helping them use zippers, buttons, laces, and other parts of clothing
- Helping them manage any sensory processing difficulties they may have
- Helping them develop their social skills
- And much more
A child’s primary job is to explore the world around them and develop their control over their body.
But when a child struggles with these and other skills, it can be discouraging.
But pediatric therapy can help your child live to their full potential both at school and at home.
Your child’s therapist will start with an evaluation of their physical abilities, developmental history, and history of other health issues.
From there, they’ll design a customized treatment plan unique to your child.
This means your child will receive the exact support they need.
Your child’s treatment plan will be designed with the goal of helping them overcome their limitations, fully participate in life, and live an amazing life.
Book Your Appointment With Little Feet Pediatric Therapy Today
If you suspect your child is autistic, it might be a little nerve wracking.
However, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Given the proper support, your autistic child can thrive through their childhood and into adulthood.
At Little Feet Pediatric Therapy, we can help.
► 3535 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
► 1331 H St NW Ste 200, Washington, DC 20005
► St. Louis, MO
► Raleigh, NC
Founded in 2019, Little Feet Therapy offers on site pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments for children from 2 months to 18 years old with physical and developmental concerns. Our clinics focus on providing therapy in a child’s natural setting where your child is in familiar surroundings, it puts their mind at ease and helps them focus more on the work they’re doing with their pediatric therapist. Our therapists will work with your child at your home, at school, at daycare, or another place in the community where they feel most comfortable.