Search This Site


Can Parents Detect High-Functioning Autism In Their Infant?

“Are there some symptoms of high functioning autism that can be observed in infants? My daughter has a son, 7 months old, and she is worried that he may have this condition. Is it too early to tell?”

High-Functioning Autism (ASD level 1) consists of problems with socializing and communication with others. While the average age of diagnosis of is around age 7 to 9, recent research regarding early warnings signs may enable clinicians to diagnosis prior to 12 months.

Many infants and toddlers exhibit signs or symptoms of HFA from time to time; however, this may reflect normal child behavior. Failure to meet expected developmental milestones doesn’t necessarily reflect a symptom of the disorder.

With these facts in mind, some symptoms of HFA may be detected in infancy:
  • Some kids with HFA fail to attain certain “expected” milestones within the first year (e.g., unassisted standing, crawling, simple gestures including waving, etc.).
  • An infant with HFA may fail to interact appropriately with his or her environment (e.g., avoid eye contact and interactions, prefer solitude, avoid attention or affection, etc.).
  • Later in infancy, some may show problems reacting with activities and objects (e.g., over react - or fail to react at all). 
  • Initial signs of repetitive behaviors may emerge at this time (e.g., rocking).
  • Babies with HFA can exhibit abnormal methods of non-verbal communication (e.g., failure to look another person in the eye and have appropriate facial expressions, failure to exhibit predictable body postures or gestures). 
  • They may not exhibit a social smile until much later on in life. 
  • Infants no the autism spectrum may totally ignore the voices of the parents or strangers, or conversely cry and become irritable when confronted with any form of social contact. 
  • The child’s first words are often unusual. For example, more complex words, such as "mountain" or "sheetrock" may emerge before simpler words, such as "Mama" or "Dada."
  • They may become obsessed with complex topics (e.g., intricate patterns or music).
  • These kids may be unable to focus on any other aspect of the environment once they notice the object of their obsession. 
  • Uncoordinated movements are a common symptom in HFA. Kids with the disorder may be seen moving clumsily and be unable to coordinate movements of the hands or feet. They may exhibit an odd posture or have a stiff, rigid gait. In addition, they may show a delay in learning how to crawl or walk, and can exhibit a delay in fine motor movements (e.g., grasping an object).
  • Infants with HFA appear to demonstrate abnormal reflexes versus “normal” kids. They tend to exhibit a persistence of the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex beyond their fourth month of life (when the reflex generally disappears). When infants 4 months and older without HFA roll over, they turn in the same direction that their head is facing. Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is the opposite of this (i.e., the infant turns over in the opposite direction to where the head is facing). 
  • They may lack reflexes that should develop by a certain age, such as the head-verticalization reflex at 6 to 8 months. An infant who has developed this reflex will maintain his head in a vertical position when his body is tilted. Infants with HFA show delays in this reflex (i.e., their heads will tilt along with their bodies).

Detecting HFA is crucial in improving the long-term outcomes for these kids. Prevention of later life problems may be avoided with early intervention. Therefore, knowledge of early symptoms of the disorder in infants remains paramount in mitigating outcomes.

More resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:

==> Videos for Parents of Children and Teens with ASD

No comments:

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...