Autistic Disorder

Many autistic infants are different from birth. Two common characteristics they may exhibit include arching their back away from their caregiver to avoid physical contact and failing to anticipate being picked up (i.e., becoming limp). As infants, they are often described as either passive or overly agitated babies. A passive baby refers to one who is quiet most of the time making little, if any, demands on his/her parents. An overly agitated baby refers to an infant who cries a great deal, sometimes non-stop, during his/her waking hours. During infancy, many begin to rock and/or bang their head against the crib; but this is not always the case.

In the first few years of life, some autistic toddlers reach developmental milestones, such as talking, crawling, and walking, much earlier than the average child; whereas others are considerably delayed. Approximately one-half of autistic children develop normally until somewhere between 1 1/2 to 3 years of age; then autistic symptoms begin to emerge. These individuals are often referred to as having 'regressive' autism. Some people in the field believe that candida albicans, vaccinations, exposure to a virus, or the onset of seizures may be responsible for this regression.

During childhood, autistic children may fall behind their same-aged peers in the areas of communication, social skills, and cognition. In addition, dysfunctional behaviors may start to appear, such as self-stimulatory behaviors (i.e., repetitive, non-goal directed behavior, such as rocking, hand-flapping), self-injury (e.g., hand-biting, head banging), sleeping and eating problems, poor eye contact, insensitivity to pain, hyper-/hypo-activity, and attention deficits.

Readings:

What is autistic disorder?
Autistic disorder is a neurological and developmental disorder that usually appears during the first three years of life.

Links:

Autism NZ Website: http://www.autismnz.org.nz/
Official Website of the Autistic Association of New Zealand Inc.