We’re loving that the NY Times is giving autism some time in the spotlight, and we love that they are encouraging folks to see a doctor with concerns. However, we know from our clinical practice that families can get confused if the focus is only on a short list of stereotypical symptoms.
In our practice, we find that autism clues can vary by age. That’s why we created this series highlighting tips for recognizing autism in early childhood, school-aged kids, and teens.
DISLIKE FOR CHANGE IN ROUTINES
In school-aged children, many parents come to us for behavior reasons. Perhaps tantrums continue to be long and intense. A child may not like change in routine, and a substitute teacher or fire drill is a nightmare.
INFLEXIBLE IN SOCIAL SETTINGS
Your child may be bossy, unlikely to compromise, and may really struggle to understand that much younger siblings do not have the same behavior rules and expectations as they might. Parents tell us that their child enjoys playing and being around other children but isn’t really able to make lasting friendships. Some children are less interested in creative play and more likely to love Legos and building structures by the book, or Minecraft and loving the world of video gaming.
POOR PERSPECTIVE TAKING
Poor perspective taking is often a telltale sign in school-aged children. They tend to struggle to interpret emotions and intentions of peers, siblings and parents, thus leading to social and behavior problems. If your child struggles with some of these concerns, an assessment can certainly help you guide your child on the right track before emotional symptoms like significant anxiety may appear.