One important aspect of well visit for children is to monitor their development. At each visit, the doctor may ask a series of questions to determine if the child is developing physically and mentally at the right pace, and the answers you give will often help spot problems early on. If you suspect your child might have a problem such as autism, you should talk to your doctor about this during one of your visits.
Early symptoms of autism
It can be hard to diagnose autism in children under the age of three, and this is mostly because the symptoms can be very hard to spot in children that are only one or two years old. Some of the early signs you might notice may include the following symptoms:
- The child is not talking by the right age.
- He or she does not want to be held.
- The child tends to act out when your schedule is broken.
- He or she may have a lot of problems interacting with other children.
While these symptoms can all be signs of autism, it's also important to realize that all kids mature at different paces, and every child's personality is different and unique. This means that even if your child is demonstrating these symptoms, he or she might not suffer from autism.
What your pediatrician might do
If you notice these symptoms and are concerned, the doctor might begin by suggesting you wait for a few more months to see if the symptoms disappear. If they do not go away or if they get worse, the doctor might suggest getting a professional assessment completed. This typically involves a combination of different professionals assessing your child. This can include a physical therapist, speech clinician, and an occupational therapist.
Doctors also often suggest using a test called the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R). This test is very comprehensive and can be helpful in diagnosing autism in children who are 16 to 30 months old.
While there is no cure for autism, there are different treatment options available that can be very helpful for a child who is diagnosed with autism. It is always best if you can find out if your child may have this when he or she is young because this will help you understand why he or she acts certain ways.
If you are concerned that your child may have autism, contact your pediatrician to set up an appointment today.