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Eight Early Signs

8 Signs That May Indicate a Developmental Disorder in the Realm of Autism in Infants

The Mifne Center treats infants who show early signs of a disorder in the development of relationships and communication in the first year of life and are at risk of autism, and toddlers with a diagnosis of ASD in the second year of life. A study conducted at the Mifne Center from 1997-2007 found eight symptoms that may indicate suspicion of autistic characteristics:


Lack of direct eye contact with people

An infant with a developmental disorder associated with autism has no difficulty observing an object, but may have difficulty making direct eye contact with people. There are infants whose optic canals mature later on, up to 4 months. In these cases, it is necessary that the infants undergo eye examinations.


Lack of response to the parent's voice or presence

The infant does not turn its head towards the parent, does not smile, does not babble. A distinction must be made between the lack of response to a voice and the lack of response to the presence of the parent - even if the baby has impaired hearing, he will usually respond to the presence of the parent. In any case, a hearing test should be performed.


Delay in motor skills development

Most babies with developmental difficulties on the autism spectrum have normal and even rapid motor skill development. However, some of them have hypotonia (low muscle tension), and their motor skill development is delayed. In this case, parents should consult a physical therapist specializing in infants. Delayed development in motor skills may indicate various disorders.


Accelerated growth of the head circumference relative to its initial point

In some cases, it is possible to find that infants at risk of autism have an accelerated growth rate of head circumference compared to the head circumference of children with normal development. This is not a clear sign of autism and should be examined by a pediatrician.


Excessive Passivity 

Lack of interest in the environment, lack of crying, lack of movement, does not show signs of discomfort, hunger, etc., sleeps through the night during the first months of life.


Excessive Activity

Continuous crying (without a medical condition or other cause), physical restlessness, hypermobility. Sometimes babies who seem passive during their first year of life become hyperactive in their second year of life.


Reluctance or resistance to eat or breastfeed

A high percentage of children diagnosed with autism have various levels of eating difficulties - refusal to breastfeed, resistance to switching to a bottle or switching from liquid to solid food, picky eating. In many cases these difficulties can already be seen in the first months of life. In these cases, metabolic examinations are indicated.


Reluctance to be touched by a parent or any other person

Some infants experience sensory overload and therefore physical contact disturbs them. There is no doubt that this can cause difficult feelings for the parents, but it is important to understand that the infant is not rejecting them, but that the child experiences real difficulty with tactile (skin) sensation.

It is important to note that each of the above signs can indicate another disorder that is not related to autism, so it is first and foremost essential to conduct all the relevant medical tests and rule out these possibilities. 
If two signs out of the eight mentioned appear over time, the possibility of a disorder must be checked.

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