Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Vancouver Sun is continuing its excellent six part series on autism with an article on early signs of autism in toddlers. One of the items listed in the article that we noted when Conor was young (there were several causes for concern early on with Conor) was a failure to play peek-a-boo at any point as a toddler. ( We did not know about autism we were just concerned ). A big one was his failure to learn to say mommy, daddy and other basic words. He also used to play for loooong periods of time sifting sand. He would hold one of those small toy plastic basket balls in his hand for hours. We have several pictures of him asleep in the car seat his hand grasping one of the primary colored plastic basketballs. We had an indoor swing set and Conor would lay with his face pressed firmly into the side of the set. But it was the failure to develop any significant language or show any substantial recognition of mom and dad that led us to seek medical attention for Conor and ultimately led to his initial diagnosis of PDD-NOS which was subsequently changed to Autism Disorder.
The signs of autism in toddlers
A decade ago, autism diagnosticians developed CHAT -- the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, designed to flag symptoms of autistic behaviour.
If the majority of answers to the questions are ‘no’ it is suggested parents talk with their family doctor or pediatrician. Here they are:
Does your child enjoy playing word/action games with others, such as peek-a-boo?
Does your child show emotions that fit the situation?
Is your child interested in what’s going on around him or her?
Does your child enjoy playing with many different toys, in many ways?
Is your child beginning to enjoy pretend play, taking turns and imitating other people’s play?
Is your child interested in approaching other children and joining a group?
Can your child easily indicate his or her interests and needs through words or sounds?
Is your child talking as you would expect?
Does your child point to, ask for, or try to show you something?
Does your child look at you when you talk to him or her?
Does your child imitate words or sounds?
Does your child imitate gestures and facial expressions?
Is your child comfortable with changes in routine?
Does your child hear and react to sound as you would expect?
Does your child enjoy being touched and touching other things?
Does your child move his or her hands like other children?
Does your child see and react to things as you would expect?
Does your child eat and drink a variety of foods and beverages?
Point to a toy and say, “Look, there’s a ------.” Does your child look in the right direction?
Use two cups and spoons. Invite your child to make juice with you -- mix, pour and drink. Does your child participate?
Ask your child to show you something in the room. “Show me the ———— ?” “Where’s the ———— ?” Does your child turn and point or touch the items?