Early Warning Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder - Case Study Part I

You are attending a family reunion and during a quiet moment, your cousin Elizabeth takes you aside and asks you what you think about the development of her son, Mark.

A boy in a sweatshirt

She tears up as she tells you how worried she is about him. Mark will be 2 years old next month, and he seems so different from the other children on the playground.

Although he is an affectionate and happy little boy, his behaviors can be so unpredictable. He is very shy and has terrible temper tantrums. It is usually impossible to reason with him.

Small changes in his routine throw Mark off, and Elizabeth is worried that he won’t be able to handle the crowd at this family gathering without causing a scene.

You ask her what her pediatrician thinks.


A young boy playing in cake icing

Elizabeth tells you that Mark has been seen by his pediatrician, and she has expressed her concerns about his temper tantrums on a few visits.Mark enjoys going to the doctor’s office because they have a large tropical fish tank, and he has generally been calm in that setting.

Mark’s doctor has been very reassuring and thinks he has a bad case of the “terrible twos.” He has told her to “give him some time; he is still young and will likely grow out of this phase.”


A young boy looking up

You have been pre-occupied by your relatives at the reunion, and you honestly haven’t been paying too much attention to Mark. You know that your cousin is a doting and caring mother.Elizabeth and her husband, Sam, had fertility struggles, and she was thrilled to give birth to Mark after a grueling course of in-vitro fertilization treatments.

You know that Mark was born full term without any complications. You heard that he was a fussy baby, but that he was otherwise healthy.


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