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The Importance of Early Autism Diagnosis & Treatment

early diagnosis of autism

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An early diagnosis of autism and evidence-based, empathetic care at an early stage in a child’s development can help children learn to adapt to unfamiliar challenges and situations. 

At Spectrum of Hope, we offer leading early intervention therapy services and treatment for autism in Texas. Our kids’ early intervention therapy services help build upon a child’s current coping strategies to help them develop new skills in cognition, socialization and communication.

Why Early Diagnosis and Intervention?

Children who receive appropriate support and education at key developmental milestones are more likely to thrive in social situations and throughout their lives. Kids early intervention therapy can provide a child diagnosed with autism with the potential for a better quality of life. 

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, early intervention therapy can help you improve their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing throughout the developmental stages.

How Early Can Signs of Autism Appear?

The behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often appear in early development. Many children exhibit signs of autism between 12 and 18 months of age or earlier.

Early Signs of ASD by Age

While only a professional can diagnose a child with ASD, you may be able to detect symptoms in your child as early as 12 to 24 months. While all toddlers are different, common signs of autism spectrum disorder in this age range include:

  • Seeming difficult to soothe or overly fussy.
  • Showing less enthusiasm to explore new things.
  • Babbling or speaking in a voice with an unusual tone.
  • Playing with toys in a unique manner.
  • Displaying unusual sensory sensitivities.
  • Carrying around objects for extended periods.
  • Displaying distinctive hand or body movements.

Recognizing the Signs of Autism

Many children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrate developmental differences as babies, especially in terms of language or social skills. Children with ASD often walk, crawl and sit on time, meaning less obvious differences in social language, pretend play and body gestures go unnoticed. 

Some of the earliest signs of autism can include:

  • Delays in language acquisition.
  • Not responding to their name by 12 months.
  • A lack of imitation or play skills.
  • Repetitive movements.
  • Avoidance of eye contact.
  • The inability to follow a person’s gestures or gaze.

Behavioral Differences in Children With Autism

Children with autism may exhibit repetitive and obsessive behaviors, although these differences will vary from child to child. Some common behavioral differences in children with autism include:

  • Looking at objects from unusual angles and may have unique use of gaze or vision.
  • May be especially sensitive — or not sensitive at all — to touch, textures, lights, sounds and smells.
  • May not cry or seem to have fear if in pain.
  • Playing with toy parts instead of the whole toy.
  • May be obsessed with a few unusual activities and repeat them throughout the day.
  • Preferring rituals, order and routines and have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another.
  • Flapping hands, walking on toes for a long time, twirling fingers, swaying, spin or rock.

Communication Differences in Children With Autism

A child diagnosed with autism may exhibit the following:

  • Losing social milestones or language abilities, usually between the ages of 15 and 24 months.
  • Having a good rote memory, especially for specific songs, letters, numbers or a specific topic.
  • Less likely to continue or start a conversation.
  • Less likely to use objects like toys in pretend play to represent people or real life.
  • Showing less interest in communicating with others.
  • Mixing up pronouns, referring to others as “I” and to self as “you.”
  • May not respond to name being called.
  • Repeating what others say without comprehending the meaning.
  • Not speaking by 15 months.
  • Less likely to indicate needs by pointing at objects.

Social Differences in Children With Autism

Social differences in children diagnosed with autism may exhibit the following ways:

  • Not looking at objects a parent is pointing to or looking at.
  • Not pointing to objects to get a parent or caregiver to look.
  • Less likely to show caregivers objects of interest.
  • Showing little to no response to a parent’s smile or other facial expressions.
  • Difficulty keeping and making friends.
  • Less likely to show empathy for others.
  • Making little to no eye contact or not keeping eye contact at all.
  • Not exhibiting facial expressions that are appropriate to the situation.
  • Finding it challenging to perceive what others are feeling or thinking by looking at their facial expressions.

What Kind of Early Intervention Is Effective?

At Spectrum of Hope, we utilize principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to decrease negative behaviors while increasing functional skills. ABA therapy is an effective early intervention therapy for children with autism.

Find Kids Early Intervention Therapy Nearby in Texas

Since 2004, Spectrum of Hope has offered early intervention therapy from diagnosis to adulthood across five convenient locations in Texas.

Our approach combines individualized treatment planning with a contemporary understanding of Applied Behavioral Analysis. Our team of caring professionals will work with your child to develop a tailored plan for their needs and developmental goals. 

Have questions about our kids’ ABA therapy services? Feel free to reach out to us online or call us at 281-894-1423 today. 

If you have questions about autism services for a child, teen or adult, call now (281) 894-1423. You can also check your insurance benefits and start an admission by clicking the button to the right. We're here for you.

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