Video transcription

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about how to recognize early signs of Autism in toddlers. First of all, we have to explain that Autism describes a whole spectrum of disorders that present in a similar fashion that seem to be caused by many, many different things. At least, many of which are probably genetic. So children with Autism, simply have difficulty understanding other people's and meanings. Other children with Autism have such difficulty understanding and communicating with other people that they maybe mistaken for being children with significant mental retardation. Or other severe developmental delays, so there's a huge spectrum. One thing all elements of the Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well them, have in common however, is a problem of what we call relatedness. That is the baby's or child's ability to look at another person and imagine what that person is thinking, guess what that person is about to do. Based on cues in facial expression, body position, movement, voice. This is an universal element of children who seem to have Autism Spectrum Disorders. And these are some of the earliest clues you're going to see. Often we don't confirm an Autism Spectrum Disorder, until age two or even age three. But we now know that in children as early as age nine months and certainly age twelve months, there are some signs to look for. The earliest thing to look for is a child who can recognize his or her own name. Most nine month olds, will look up when they hear their name, even in the midst of other conversation. So if you call your child by name and he or she just doesn't seem to recognize it at age nine or ten months. You might bring up concerns to your doctor. Maybe it's a hearing problem, maybe your baby was premature or has some delayed speech development, but it is a little bit of a red flag. By twelve months of age, your baby should be understanding yes and no. In addition to being able to follow a point that is your baby, if you say, hey, look at that over there. Your baby should look at that over there and likewise, your baby should be trying to draw your attention. By eighteen months, these things are even more pronounced, the baby should really be coming up to show you things that are interesting, pulling you by the hand to look at things. Some things that you don't want to see, are weird finger movements in front of the face. A child's going to look at his or her hands, but it shouldn't be obsessive. The child should not be easily disturbed by normal household noises. A motorcycle going by, a jet taking off, sure, even a loud vacuum cleaner. But say, the rustling of the trash bag while you're taking it out or other household sounds that are relatively not so noisy, like a quiet dishwasher, shouldn't be that disturbing to a child. A child should make eye contact with you on a regular basis. A child should look to you, to see what your response is to novel situations. Has a stranger walked in, are they somewhere they've never been before? That child should be looking at your face to see, hey, is this o.k, should I be scared? If you show a sense of fear, the child should echo that sense of fear. If you show a sense of calm, the child should be calm to buy that. Those are all things that we look at early. Now your child's doctor should be doing developmental screening at regular intervals along with a wellness exam. That'll start really with every wellness exam but there'll screenings at especially, at six months, twelvemonths, eighteen months, twenty four months and every year after that. There is a standardized tool that we use, the most popular is called the M-CHAT. But there are a variety of other tests that have also been shown to be good tools for predicting which children may have Autism Spectrum Disorders. And in standard of care now, your doctor will do that tool, that test for your child at age eighteen months and twenty four months. So if you go to a wellness exam at those ages and your doctor is not performing some sort of Autism screen. Ask the staff in the clinic, why that isn't happening because that is a recommendation now from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Talking about recognizing early signs of Autism in your toddler, I'm Dr. David Hill.