What is Autism?

Autism is a disorder that affects a child’s brain development and can also impact an individual’s ability to socialize and communicate with others. AGC Pediatrics helps to diagnose and treat children with autism at an early age. Read more from our Autism experts to learn what to expect if your child has autism.

What is Autism?

​Autism is a general term that is used to describe a complex disorder that affects and individual’s brain development. Although autism has varying degrees of severity, many autistic children struggle socially, have difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication, and partake in repetitive behaviors.

AGC Pediatrics offers comprehensive treatment plans for behavioral and developmental disorders, like autism. We provide support for both parents and children at our offices in Calhoun and Cartersville in Northern Georgia.

The Signs of Autism in Children

The most obvious signs of autism show up in children that are between two and three years old. While each child is unique, appropriate screening can determine whether a child is at risk for autism as young as one year old.

From birth to at least 36 months of age, children should be screened for developmental milestones during routine visits with their pediatrician. However, as a parent or caregiver, one of the most important things you can do is be on the look out for signs of autism in your child.

It is important to understand the warning signs and typical developmental milestones that your child should be achieving. Here are some signs of autism that parents should be aware of:

  • Child lacks joyful expressions by 6 months
  • Doesn’t keep eye contact or makes very little eye contact
  • Doesn’t respond to a parent’s smile or other facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t bring objects or toys to show parents
  • Child is unable to make friends or is uninterested in social activities
  • Child rocks, spins, or sways in a repetitive manner
  • Likes routine, order, and rituals
  • Has a difficult time with change
  • Child seems to not feel pain and may even hurt themselves on purpose
  • Lack of response to his or her name by 12 months
  • Doesn’t point or wave goodbye
  • Looks at objects from an unusual angle
  • No spoken words by 16 months
  • Doesn’t make meaningful two-word phrases by 24 months

AGC Pediatrics screens for developmental milestones in children like those listed above, however, it is important for parents to also be aware of the signs of autism.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism

If you are concerned about your child’s development, and they are showing signs of autism, it is important to get support as soon as possible. The sooner a child can receive treatment, the more effective these treatment services can be in fostering positive outcomes.

At this time, there is no medical test that can diagnose autism. Instead, trained physicians and psychologists will administer autism-specific behavioral evaluations. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a list of informative questions about your child. Answers can indicate whether the child should be evaluated by a specialist such as a developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

Once diagnosed with autism, a solid treatment plan can greatly improve the quality of life for the individual. Since each child is unique, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address the specific needs of the individual. Intervention and treatment options can involve behavioral treatments, medicine, or both. In many cases, treatment plans often involve a child’s entire family, working closely with a team of professionals.

Contact AGC Pediatrics to Learn More about the Signs of Autism

​If your child is showing signs of autism, early intervention is important. Early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can greatly improve outcomes and quality of life for the child. At AGC Pediatrics, our professional staff offers comprehensive treatment programs for developmental disorders, like autism.

If your child is showing symptoms of autism, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a consultation for your child. We offer appointments at our Calhoun and Cartersville locations in Georgia.