Living with Autism – 0 to 2 Years Old
Posted on December 31, 2018 by All In
As your baby grows, there are many development milestones you look forward to. For example, smiles, cooing and babbling noises. However, these are noticeably missing in children who have developed autism.
You can take this Child Development Assessment to track your child’s developmental milestones so as to identify the early warning signs of autism.
This checklist created by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is very useful to help you keep track of your child’s developmental milestones.
Signs of Autism (0 to 2 years old)
The first step to coping with autism is, knowing what it looks like in the first place. Here are some common signs of autism to look out for:
If you see your child exhibiting any of the symptoms, you should seek diagnosis from a professional immediately. Please refer to our chart on early warning signs of autism in kids (0 to 2 years old) in our introduction to autism.
Health & Nutrition
Parents find it more challenging to introduce new food groups to their babies with autism because of their sensorial sensitivity. Hence, ensuring that your baby gets enough nutrition is a skill that requires patience and persistence.
Kids with autism also need to avoid a range of foods like gluten, corn, sugar and dairy and anything with artificial ingredients. A wide range of treatments and therapies are available for kids with autism. But these needs vary for each child. In order to select an effective treatment, it is necessary to first understand the challenges your child is facing, so you can select the most appropriate treatment for him/her. Do consult a seasoned professional in order to administer the right treatments for your child.
While one treatment may work for one child, it may not work for another. It is important to also review treatments through published research, to determine the effectiveness of various treatments as proven medically or scientifically.
Finally, communication with your therapist is key, as therapists often are the first line of defense when it comes to the administration of treatments. They can advise what your child needs and help you find the health care arrangement best suited for your child and family.
For more information about your child’s nutrition, check out our article on health, treatments and nutrition.
Children with autism may have a hard time making friends because of their condition. Certain factors, whether social or environmental, may cause discomfort (such as sensory stimulations) to your child. Their agitations can result in screams and tantrums until they receive their comfort zone. This social misbehaviour can be misconstrued as bad parenting and can be challenging for the parents of a child with autism.
Discovering what the boundaries for your child are in a social setting, and knowing how to calm them down with their favourite things will help parents and caregivers of children with autism. For example, if you know your child has a fixation with long objects, bringing his/her favourite item can help to soothe them.
Sometimes, for kids with autism in a challenging spectrum, riding out the tantrum is the only way to calm the child and helping the people in the immediate area understand your child’s difficulty is another way to help diffuse a difficult situation.
Playtime and Social Development
You might think that an untrained individual such as yourself will not be able to contribute effectively to your child’s learning. However, parents’ support in teaching children, especially in their early stages of development, is crucial to making a difference in their abilities later on in life. Play time, guided by your child’s comfortable boundaries, is the best way to encourage them to pick up undeveloped motor skills.
Do remember that it is normal for those suffering from autism to have limited play. Due to their inflexibility and lack of imagination, play is often repetitive with the same kind of toys. Make-believe is also difficult for them.
To encourage play, there are many different ways. Examples include:
- Granting your child the freedom to explore on his own and feel what an object is like
- “Cause-and-effect” play: letting the child realise that to achieve a desired outcome, an action has to be made – like winding up a toy before it moves.
- “Functional” play: when the parents themselves teach the kids how to play with the toy, using positive reinforcement.
Check in to Raisingchildren.net to find out more details on play, as well as many other ways to encourage better play with your child.
Language skills can also be developed with a proper teaching attitude. There is a difference between directive and responsive interactions with your kids. For responsive interactions, the parent builds on the current interests and behavior of the child. For example, when the child is playing with a toy car, the parent may say, “that’s a car!”
Directive interaction is when the parent changes the child’s attention. One example is how the parent may encourage the child to say “car” before giving the toy back. Adopting a teaching style that builds on interest (responsive interaction) is more beneficial, especially for those with autism. It taps on their interests without forcing them to face their inept communication skills. This promotes a comfortable and enjoyable learning experience for them.
All content found on the All In website, has been created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.