The system also seems to rely on parents identifying for themselves if they have a concern about their child
This is referred to as the most fundamental phase of brain development which lays the foundation of the child’s future ‘neural architecture’
‘Red Flags’ for possible Autism in very young children
- Any regression or sudden stopping of speech development in the absence of any major life events or trauma. This may mean that the child has acquired a few words, or may even be producing short phrases but then suddenly stops. This tends to happen around the age of 18 months to two years.
- A lack of ‘social motivation’ – reduced or no interest in either adults or other children. All children begin by playing alongside other children. However, interest in other children is usually there from a very young age. Shyness with unfamiliar adults is normal (and likely to be more apparent post-lockdown). Of more concern is a complete lack of interest in other people and a tendency to go and sit alone whenever possible.
- Repetition of certain words or phrases. Again, this is a normal part of speech development. However, if the child repetitively says the same words or phrases over and over again, often out of context, this can be a cause for concern.
- A lack of interest in toys. If the child seems more focussed on parts of an object (such as the wheels of a car) and repetitively focuses on these or lines cars and toys up but doesn’t really play with them.
- A lack of imaginative play. What is referred to as ‘functional play’ often starts with the child playing with miniature tea sets for example and making people tea, and being able to pretend that something is real (like toy food, for example). By around the age of three, children usually begin to be able to play with dolls, teddies or miniature figures and to begin to make them interact with each other.
- Insistence upon doing certain things the same way every time. This may involve wanting to use the same cup or plate every day, becoming distressed if someone is in ‘their’ seat at the table. It may also extend to noticing and becoming upset if a different route is taken to nursery, for example.
- Repetitively watching the same TV programme or YouTube clip over and over again.
- Unusual ‘flapping’, spinning round excessively, odd facial grimaces or posturing with the hands, walking on tiptoes.
- Unusual or ‘over the top’ reactions to sensory experiences, such as noise, texture (of clothes and food), smells or touch.