How do you know if a child has mild autism ?!

My friend has a 5 yr old son who can say a few words then cuts of into bable. She doesn't talk "baby talk" to him. When she wants to get his attention he avoids eye contact by rolling his eyes in every direction. When we took him to the fair certain noise would bother him and he would cover his ears. The noise didn't even have to be high pitched or very loud. When she asked the doctor about his speech, he simply said it was a speech impediment that once he starts school he will get help for it. I'm not sure how to approach her about it either.

Early intervention is key in cases of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Nonverbal Learning Disorder, and delayed speech.

Please ask her to take the following steps immediately:

Find a pediatrician that specializes in children with developmental disabilities.

Contact the school system for a complete evaluation (this is free, and could have been before the child trained 3!).

The school system will choose a team of professionals to evaluate the child, including, but not limited to a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a school adjustment counselor, a school psychologist, a teacher and an expert in special education. His parents will be part of the team, and they may bring any experts they so choose to the team meetings.

The child's new pediatrician will submit a recommendation for the services the child needs. The child may require an independent evaluation by additional specialists (pediatric neurologist, etc. to develop a treatment plan.

Make sure that the team adopts the recommendations of his pediatrician and specialists in their entirety; appeal the team's decision, if necessary.

The team will develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that specifies the services to be provided and the frequency of the provision, as well as the modifications that will be made to "regular" education to accommodate him.

His parents have the right to accept or reject the IEP, in whole or in part, and appeal same, in whole or in part. If they choose to appeal and another, independent evaluation is required, the school must pay for the evaluation.

The school system is required BY LAW to provide early intervention services beginning at age 3, so he will probably begin in a special program, immediately.

This is a very complex subject not easily dealt with in this forum, however the above is a start. DON'T WAIT!

Other Answers:
The diagnosis needs to be made by a professional, e.g. a psychologist. There are other syndromes that mimic autism.

There is no way to know what is wrong with this child without a complete physical and psychological work up done by doctors. Any one who "diagnoses" the child here has no idea what they are saying.

This is your friend's child and her business. I would not approach her about it unless she asks for your opinion. It is totally possible that she knows what is wrong with her child but doens't feel obligated to share that information. If she doesn't, you can suggest she have him thoroughly tested only if she broaches the topic with you. Otherwise, she may not appreciate your interference and it could cost you the friendship.
I'm an R.N.

Sounds like Autism to me. A child that can not speak normal by age 5 should definetly be tested. My nephew (he is 5) has it. He can speak only a few words, does not talk in full sentences, does not make eye contact, does not like to be cuddled but loves rough play, and he does repetitve things over and over again. Please talk to her about taking her son to a doctor prior to school. A doctor will recognize the problem. You can say he should go to make sure he is up to date on his shots, which is also true. Good luck.
Aunt of an Autistic child

There are a lot of small characteristics that a child could have that *might* implicate autism, but you are definitely not the person to diagnose it. Does he seem overly interested in things that go in a circular motion (i.e. wheels)? Does he fixate on certain things: patterns, colors, etc? Does a flashing light bother him? These are things to consider when you bring this information up to your friend. Say something like, "I noticed he is bothered by such and such. Maybe you should bring that up at the doctor's?" In any case, it is important to catch these things early on, because there are ways to work around it if he's getting the right treatment from the start. Good luck!

could be- my son started talking at 3 weeks- no joke 3 weeks- started saying Hi- by the time he was 11 months, he didn't speak- by the time he was two, he just repeated things said on TV, and certain noises drove him bonkers.
I hesitate to recommend that your friends child be taken to a Doctor, having learned some of the ways that medically trained types "treat" autism. We have done a huge amount of research, and homeschool- and our son, now 8- speaks mostly normally (still misspeaks certain letter sounds- but getting better all the time), is a scary math whiz (much, much better at math than his sister, 10), and relates to the world very normally in most ways. He still has times when certain noises "get to him", and certain lighting conditions bother him, but as I said, he is begining to relate to the world very normally.
Just talk with you friend, assure her that if it is autism it can be dealt with effectively, and do what you can to help her learn about the condition.

This website might be helpful.

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