What is autism?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder are general terms for a complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
What are symptoms of autism?
- Delayed speech and development such as no babbling by 12 months and no words by 16 months
- Poor eye contact
- Lack of social skills
- Repetitive behaviors
- Any loss of speech at any time
- Among many others signs such as sleep dysfunction, pica, and more
If you child has some or all the above symptoms, first make sure there are no physical reasons causing this.
What physical causes should I exclude before suspecting my child has autism?
Delayed speech and development could be caused by physical factors that have nothing to do with the brain. For example, hearing loss or fluids in the ear. It could easily be that the child is not hearing well and this is why the child is not developing correctly. This can be easily eliminated by checking if there are any fluids using a tympanometer and checking if there is hearing loss using a hearing tester. To read more about fluid detection check "How to detect fluids in the middle ear?" By Pediatrician Dr. Medhat Abu Shaaban
Other reasons causing learning delay could be vision difficulty which can be assessed at an eye doctor. myPediaclinic offers a 2 second vision screener starting 6 months that can check if the child has any eye problems that need referral.
What if my child does not have hearing or vision problems?
If your doctor excludes all other medical reasons, then there are several centers in Dubai that do autism assessment. We have a list of recommended centers in Dubai that we work with. We would love to share it with you. Please call the clinic and ask for the list of updated recommended autism clinics. At myPediaclinic we do the initial autism screening, and send the results to the qualified center as part of our network of care.