Are the 'not so obvious' signs listed on your blog BMJ?
Some of the "not so obvious" signs are on my blog piece, especially as they relate to girls with ASD (who often present differently than boys do).
Something I've mentioned several times on EB is that giftedness can mask ASD -- parents and teachers might think that a child's high IQ accounts for all of their quirks and sensitivities and challenges, when in reality, the child also has ASD.
There are some common red flags for ASD that virtually everyone seems to know: lack of eye contact probably topping the list. The trouble is, a child can have lousy eye contact and still have ASD...or vice versa. It drives me bonkers when I hear someone say "Does he make eye contact? If so, then you don't have to worry about autism."
Likewise, many people appreciate that lack of speech can be a red flag, but I don't think as many people realize that a child with ASD might be incredibly verbose -- he/she might have learned to speak early and speak in long, sophisticated sentences, so ASD is overlooked. But the real question is "How is the child using his/her speech?" At 3.5, my daughter could blow you away with a monologue on world dictators, but she couldn't answer a simple question asked of her, and she didn't participate in the "give and take" of conversation. Even today, she still finds that hard and prefers to dictate the terms of the conversation.
Another "not so obvious" sign can be differences in social interactions. Again, the common stereotype is that kids with ASD don't like people or aren't affectionate (an inaccurate stereotype in many instances). A lesser known red flag that you might see is when kids don't have a strong social gauge -- that is, they think EVERYONE is their friend or they are unusually affectionate. In my daughter's case, at a young age, she was comfortable engaging with adults (so we thought "Surely this can't be ASD!"), but she was really not interested in stuff her peers were doing. We'd be at Gymbaroo, and she would be the only kid not willing to do circle time -- she always had to be doing her own thing.
Just off the top of my head, other "not so obvious" ones I can think of:* Intense interest/obsession with letters/numbers/symbols
-- being more interested, say, in the serial number on a toy than the toy itself, fascination with number plates on a car, ability to "read" (de-code words without corresponding comprehension) at an unusually early age
* Hand leading in very young children
-- using another person's hand to direct them to what the child wants, as opposed to pointing or trying to verbalize* Strong reactions to smells, sounds, textures or sights
, and under/overreaction to pain and discomfort* Gross motor and/or fine motor issues* Insistence on doing things the same way every time
(e.g. taking the same driving route home)
Anyway, my little blog piece in my signature link lists some of the most common signs. I can't stress enough that if a child exhibits things from that list it doesn't necessarily mean the child has ASD. Conversely, a child with ASD might not tick every item on the list.
But if your child is having challenges or you notice differences between them and their peers when it comes to social and communications skills, if you notice they have certain ritualistic or repetitive behaviors, and/or if they have sensory sensitivities, it is worth getthing things checked out by someone who truly understands the nuances of ASD (IMHO as an ASD mamma, not a specialst).
Edited by baddmammajamma, 26 December 2012 - 12:43 AM.