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Does your child not like some clothing or food because of the texture? Are they overly sensitive to loud noises? Do they prefer to play alone or hide from others? 

These are some early and common signs of autism spectrum disorder. 

Sometimes, parents notice that their child regresses from a milestone they’ve already met or doesn’t meet a milestone at the rate you’d expect for children their age. 

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. Children with autism often have difficulties in functioning and development. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 36 children in the United States has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. 

That’s a lot. It’s much more common than you would think,

Azara Singh, MD   Pediatric Neurologist

Early detection helps patients, and their families get the help they need quicker. 

“The key to understanding autism is that it’s not a single diagnosis,” Singh said. “It’s called autism spectrum disorder. Which means it encompasses a wide range of severities and symptoms.” 

Singh says the symptoms range from mild (a few sensory issues, delays in language development or desire to play alone) to more severe cases requiring complete dependence and a high level of supervision. 

WATCH: Dr. Singh discusses symptoms, diagnosing and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

Children are put through extensive testing and evaluations to determine the severity of their symptoms. This determines the amount of support and therapy a child and the family may need. Having a team that knows your child and follows them through the diagnosis and therapy and supports the patient and family is very helpful when you are parenting a child with autism.  

Dr. Singh says one of the biggest concerns families have deals with the kind of life their child will have.

“No matter where a child falls on the spectrum, it’s important to understand that this diagnosis does not prevent your child from living a happy fulfilling life,” Singh said. “What’s important is to recognize what your child needs so you can get them the help they need in a timely manner to set them up for success.” 

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