How much do you know about ASDs? Test your knowledge...
1. Which of the following are signs that a child might have an ASD?
Children develop at their own pace, so it can be difficult to tell exactly when a child will learn a particular skill. But, there are age-specific developmental milestones used to measure a child’s social and emotional progress in the first few years of life. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
It is important to note that some people without an ASD might also have some of these symptoms. But for people with an ASD, the impairments make life very challenging.
Each person with an ASD has different communication skills. Some people can speak well. Others can’t speak at all or only very little. About 40% of children with an ASD do not talk at all. About 25%–30% of children with an ASD have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood.
ASDs can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until much older. This delay means that children with an ASD might not get the help they need.
Developmental screening is a short test to tell if children are learning basic skills when they should, or if they might have delays. It is important for health care providers to screen all children for developmental delays at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for developmental problems due to preterm birth, low birth weight, or having a brother or sister with an ASD.
If your child’s health care provider does not routinely check your child with this type of developmental screening test, ask that it be done.
There is currently no cure for ASDs. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development. Intervention services can include therapy to help your child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s health care provider as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem.
Early intervention services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) help children from birth to 3 years old (36 months) learn important skills. Services include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others. Therefore, it is important to talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible if you think your child has an ASD or other developmental problem.
Even if your child has not been diagnosed with an ASD, he or she may be eligible for early intervention treatment services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children under the age of 3 years (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays may be eligible for services. These services are provided through an early intervention system in your state. Through this system, you can ask for an evaluation.
In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not need to wait for a formal ASD diagnosis.
We do not know all of the causes of ASDs. However, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASDs.
Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD. Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also having an ASD.
In addition, ASDs tend to occur more often in people who have certain other medical conditions. About 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic disorder, such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
Poor parenting skills are not a cause of autism. As with any child, it is important to make sure the child is growing up in a safe and healthy environment.
ASDs occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but are four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. CDC estimates that between about 1 in 80 and 1 in 240, with an average of 1 in 110, children in the United States have an ASD.
If you think your child might have an ASD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts, contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for an ASD as soon as possible.
To learn more about ASDs visit our Facts Webpage.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
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