Recognizing the Symptoms of Autism in Children

Few child health issues have gotten more publicity in the 21st century than autism. A mental condition characterized by great difficulty forming relationships and communicating with other people, autism is present from early childhood.

For parents of young children or even expecting parents, the increased publicity of autism has left many wondering what they can do with respect to their own children. The Autism Society of America notes parents should be on the lookout for the following symptoms, and consult a physician should any of them begin to appear.

* Difficulty in mixing with others. At times, autism can be a heartbreaking disorder for a sufferer's loved ones, mainly due to the difficulty autistic children have in communicating and befriending other children. Lacking the capacity to communicate with others is one of the more prevalent traits associated with autism. Parents of children who can't seem to mix with other children should consider consulting a physician.

* Inability verbalizing needs and wants. In lieu of speaking, autism sufferers often resort to pointing or gestures when expressing needs. While this is a common trait in many young children, it is abnormal for toddlers who have already developed language skills.

* Resistance to change. Autism sufferers insist on never breaking from their routine, a trait that was characterized in the 1988 film "Rain Man," where Dustin Hoffman's character is an adult with autism who strongly resists change and breaking from his routine throughout the film.

* Not wanting to be cuddled or make eye contact. While these are separate traits, they both can be extremely difficult for parents to cope with, possibly making parents feel as though their child is not reciprocating their love. Children will react negatively to being hugged or cuddled and some autism sufferers refuse to make eye contact as well.

* Unresponsive to verbal cues. Children with autism often act as if they are deaf, despite hearing tests that show their hearing is in normal range.

To learn more, visit the Autism Society of America Web site at www.autism-society.org.

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