Children are being diagnosed with autism at earlier ages than a generation ago, but still not as soon as they can be. Early diagnosis is important because it leads to early intervention, which lessens the challenges of autism. Find out how to seek a diagnosis and intervention for a child suspected of having autism.
Signs of autism
Studies estimate that from 3 to 25 percent of children with autism lose their diagnosis. Some wonder: did those who recover really have autism at the outset? Were they truly free from autistic symptoms? What separates those who lose their diagnosis from those who don't? Explore this controversial topic.
Now that the world is becoming familiar with autism and its symptoms, many adults are finding autism-like traits in themselves and others and wondering where, how, and if they should get a professional diagnosis.
Autism may not be as rare in girls as once believed. Some girls appear to have less severe symptoms than boys, and to be better able to mask social challenges at school. According to research by IAN and others, girls with milder forms of autism are diagnosed later than boys, possibly delaying intervention. Some may not be diagnosed at all.
For years researchers have said children with autism are more likely to have large heads, a phenomenon they attributed to "early brain overgrowth." But now several scientists are questioning assumptions about brain overgrowth and autism, especially how common it is. Their stories spotlight the important ways science reconsiders evidence in the search for answers.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sometimes have other medical conditions. One of those possibilities is Down syndrome, which is marked by intellectual disability.
Some of a child’s early symptoms of autism may be among the most puzzling to parents: hand-flapping, rocking, lining up toys, or finding the whirling blades of a fan more interesting than the world around him. Psychologists call these repetitive and restricted behaviors. Guidelines for diagnosing autism now place a greater emphasis on these behaviors.
Information for families of newly diagnosed children