Childhood Developmental Concerns
Does my child have autism?
When parents, grandparents, or caregivers ask this question, it is prudent to seek medical evaluation. In some cases, their fears can be laid to rest. In others, autistic behaviors are simply the result of food allergies or nutritional deficiencies that can easily be addressed. Too often, however, the diagnosis is truly autism. The symptoms of autism may be present from birth or develop at any time prior to age 3. Many children have a period of typical development followed by a plateau or an actual loss of skills. Receptive language, expressive language, social skills, eye contact, and interest in previously enjoyed toys and activities decline, sometimes quite rapidly and dramatically. These changes may occur after an illness, vaccination, toxic exposure, or for no obvious reason. Autism can run in families, but in most cases there is no family history of the condition. It is frequently associated with recurrent ear infections, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation, multiple food allergies or sensitivities, abnormal sleep patterns, eating disorders, and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Effective treatments for these symptoms exist and can be very beneficial.
Warning signs of a child at risk for autism include the following:
- Language delays or loss of receptive or expressive language
- Loss of coordination or motor skills
- Loss of interest in social interaction
- Lack of response to name
- Lack of interest in peers
- Lack of eye contact
- Lack of interest in toys
- Fascination with unusual objects or parts of objects
- Failure to use gestures such as pointing or waving
- Repetitive or odd behaviors
- Insistence on rituals or routines
- Eating disorders/self-limited diets
- Excessive intake of gluten or dairy products
- Hand flapping
- Toe walking
- Lack of awareness of danger
- Sensitivity to noise, touch, or light: easily over-stimulated
- Erratic sleep pattern
- Preference to be alone or apart from others
- Excessive tantrums
Problems with attention, communication, and behavior are often associated with challenges in coordination, balance, muscle tone, strength and/or motor skills. These concerns may be related to nutritional deficiencies, metabolic disorders, chronic intestinal inflammation, toxic exposures, or infections.
Please visit our menu of Services for information regarding assessments and treatment options.
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