Today, April 2nd, is World Autism Awareness Day.
One of the things I have learned about autism is that we probably miss a lot of symptoms, and my guess is that everyone has an autistic person in their life without knowing it. The spectrum for Autism is very broad, and probably much broader than we know even now. Asperger Syndrome has complicated things further. Many Aspys don’t display obvious traits and are never identified, or are identified late in life. This very notion—of a successful, functioning adult firmly placed within the spectrum—is telling.
There are obvious signs in infants, though some can be cloaked in development that is simply a-typical.
Signs in infants:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age *
Signs of Asperger Syndrome:
- Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
- Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
- Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
- Appearing not to understand, empathize with or be sensitive to others' feelings
- Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor
- Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
- Moving clumsily, with poor coordination**
Sources: *Autism Speaks Learn the Signs , **Mayo Clinic Signs of Asperger Syndrome
Learn More @ AutismSpeaks.org