Autism is generally not diagnosed till the child is around 3 years old, but according to the Autism Recovery Network, developmental delays can be detected in babies as young as 6 months old.
The early signs
• Doesn’t imitate your expression.
• Delayed or no babbling.
• Doesn’t smile when he sees a familiar face.
• Doesn’t respond to his name.
• Doesn’t follow moving objects with his eyes.
• Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
• Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
• Doesn’t play with others or show interest in what people are doing.
Several therapies that are used to treat autism…
• Applied behavioural analysis
Also known as behaviour modification, this treatment method teaches the patient how to conduct himself in an appropriate manner by modifying his behavior through a system of rewards and consequence.
• Speech and language therapy
This method uses techniques such as physical strengthening, breathing training or the use of audio-visual aids to treat disorders that affect a person’s speech, language and cognition.
• Occupational therapy
Using everyday activities to help a person manage his day-to-day life.
• Sensory integration
This form of occupational therapy helps the patient use the information his senses absorb to give him a reliable picture of the world and his place in it.
Books on autism
Below are resources for more information on autism spectrum disorder:
• The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida.
• Autism Resource Centre
For comprehensive information about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and where to seek help in Singapore.
• Autism Speaks
An international autism science and advocacy organisation.
An online support group for parents with children with ASD.
• Pathlight School
This autism-based school offers a mainstream academic curriculum, plus teaches life skills.