Spotting the signs of autism in children can be challenging, but early diagnosis can make all the difference in their learning and development. If you’re a parent or caregiver, or someone interested in a career working with children, understanding the early signs of autism can be a huge benefit to a child’s health, wellbeing and personal growth.
In this guide, we’re showing you the early signs of autism in children, with a detailed overview of the behaviours to watch out for. We also take a look at the qualifications you’ll need to work with children with autism or other special care needs, so you can take the first step towards what promises to be a rewarding career.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability which affects a person’s ability to interact and communicate with others. Autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. There are, however, a variety of techniques and strategies that can help people to live with the condition.
People with autism experience the world differently to others. This can make some situations challenging, so early diagnosis is important to make sure people get the help and support they need.
It’s estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with autism. However, because it’s a spectrum disorder, it’s thought that many thousands more people live with the condition without knowing it. People from all backgrounds can be autistic, although it appears to affect men more than women.
Although autism is difficult to diagnose before 24 months, first symptoms often arise between 12 and 18 months. The early signs of autism in children involve the absence of ‘normal’ behaviours, rather than the presence of abnormal ones.
This makes symptoms quite hard to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms can even be misinterpreted as signs of a “good baby,” since the toddler may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.
We’ll take an in-depth look at the early signs of autism in children below, so that parents, early years practitioners and other care givers are aware of the common signs to look for.
If you think you might like to specialise in this area, then it’s a fantastic idea to pursue a recognised, accredited qualification such as our NCFE CACHE Certificate in Understanding Autism, or the Certificate in Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties.
Both of these courses will give you a solid foundation of knowledge when it comes to helping people with autism to thrive and reach their full potential. They’re incredibly useful for numerous professional fields such as childcare, nursing, or health and social care.
If you’re a parent or caregiver to a child with autism, these courses will also prove very helpful; you’ll learn effective communication strategies, how to help children identify and manage their emotions, as well as discover the many positive (and often overlooked) aspects of living with the condition.
We hope this guide proves useful to parents, caregivers, and those looking for a career working with children with specific care needs. If you’re interested in learning more about our range of distance learning courses, visit the Oxbridge homepage or call us on 0121 630 3000 to speak to one of our experienced course advisers.