Autism is the most prominent developmental disorder in American children. In the last ten years, the number of children born with one form of Autism has doubled, leading public health officials to announce it as a national epidemic. While little is known about the disorder’s origins, one of the most notable factors in Autistic children is the slow development of basic social skills. Here is some key information on what behaviors to watch out for and how to help encourage social skills in children with Autism.
What are Signs That a Child is Not Developing Proper Social Skills?
The behaviors differ for each child. Some are very broad while others are specific, varying from how the child behaves in situations with peers to how he or she repsonds to certain comments. It depends on the type of Autism the child has. Only a specialist can properly define and diagnose your child for Autism and help to create a plan for educational development.
There are several different forms of poor social skills development that will manifest in Autistic children. The first is verbal. Autistic children with verbal development issues will have difficulty carrying on a conversation for an extended period of time. If they are able to carry on a conversation, they will not be able to follow the same topic very long.
The second is nonverbal. Nonverbal behavioral issues are often confused with shyness. Children with slow nonverbal development will have difficulty responding to facial expressions or making eye contact with strangers who do not speak when they approach.
What Is the Next Step Once the Behaviors Have Been Identified?
Before taking any major steps or making any changes in your child’s life, it is important to contact a medical professional. An Autism specialist will talk with you and your child to determine what needs have to be met and the best ways to help with healthy development. Some children will thrive in traditional educational situations such as public schools that offer specialized attention. Other children will perform better in a controlled environment special needs classroom setting. Others still are able to walk in both worlds, spending part of their time in a traditional classroom and part of their time learning with a developmental specialist.
What exactly causes Autism in children and how to prevent it are still unknown. However, the progress made in the last ten years for how to improve learning development is improving the lives of child with Autism and their families. Once the behaviors that suggest slow social skills development are identified, there are nearly limitless options available to help your child improve their ability to communicate with others and lead an active social life as an adult.