Archive for the ‘Autism’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Social skills in kids on the Autism Spectrum

One of the hallmark symptoms of children with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum are deficits in social skills. A child’s difficulties with social skills has a huge impact on their ability to be accepted socially. Specifically, children on the Autism Spectrum, whether the diagnosis is Autism, Asperger’s, or PDD NOS, they struggle with understanding social cues and the thoughts and feelings of other children. They typically have difficulty as well in modulating their emotions, which for adults often translates into inappropriate behaviors. Children with Autism often do not take turns, can not hold a conversation with another child, and do not make eye contact with those with whom they are speaking. In addition, a number of kids with Autism lack an ability to understand the consequences of their own behavior and how their behaviors affect those around them.

Those working with children with Autism, whether it is the child’s teacher, parent, other familly members or professionals, a child with autism needs to be taught specific social skills. Social skills will not come naturally for a child on the Autism spectrum and need to be modeled for them. Social skills are best taught through role playing the appropriate behaviors. For example, model with the child taking turns, sitting and waiting while someone else is talking, and through playing childhood games. In addition, explain the meanings of specific facial expressions, gestures, and personal space/boundaries to them. Model what is appropriate and what is inappropriate making sure to convey that everyone has feelings/emotions that are different than their own.

PostHeaderIcon Indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Parents often do not understand what to look for in determining whether or not their child may fall on the Autism Spectrum. All children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) demonstrate deficits in the following areas. 1.) delays in social interactions 2.) delays in their verbal and nonverbal communications and 3.) repetitive patterns of behaviors. In addition to those deficits, children with ASD usually have difficulty responding appropriately to different sensory experiences such as noises or interpreting how things look. These symptoms will be absolutely different in each child and some child will have mild symptoms and some children will have more severe symptoms. This is the reason that they are called Autism Spectrum Disorders. Each child falls some where on this spectrum.

Between the ages of 12 months to 36 months the symptoms of Autism will be displayed and the earlier it is caught the better.

What should parents look for exactly:

When their child does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by the age of 1 year of age
Does not speak on word by 16 months of age
Does not respond to their name being called
Loses language or social skills after they have learned it
Does not combine two words by the age of 2 years

Other indicators are:
Poor eye contact
Doesn’t know how to play with toys
Does not smile
Is attached to one particular toy or object and they play with it constantly
Excessively lines up toys or other objects that they have
At times they seem to be unable to hear what you are saying

(Adapted from The Public Health Training Network)

Socially, kids with ASD have tremendous difficulty learning to engage in the give and take in everyday relationships. They do not interact well with other children and typically avoid eye contact. They seem to be indifferent to other people and actually prefer to be alone. In addition, chidren with ASD have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling and seem to miss these simple social cues.

If your child displays many of these symptoms, then your child should be evaluated by their pediatrician, family physician, or a child psychologist. The earlier that a child is diagnosed with ASD the sooner they can begin receiving necessary treatment for ASD.