Over the years, research has consistently shown that the brains of children with autism develop in a different manner than their peers who do not have autism [1, 2]. The challenges they subsequently face are associated with this difference in brain development. Although autism is considered a lifelong condition, children can still lead full lives if their symptoms are properly managed. The ten most common signs of autism are:
- Developmental learning delays – Children with autism often display specific learning disabilities or may struggle to meet developmental milestones. For example, they may not be able to stack blocks or use a pegboard.
- Difficulty communicating – Children with autism may be non-verbal or have a limited ability to communicate. They may also find it difficult to read facial expressions and vocal tones, or understand other people's gestures.
- Over or under sensitivity to sensory stimuli – Autism may cause a child to be overly sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, certain types of fabric, or specific foods. Thus, the child may become overwhelmed easily. Other children may be under sensitive and display a high pain threshold (e.g., banging their head).
- Difficulty in social settings – Finding it difficult to socialize with other people is one of the more easily observed traits of autism. Children who have autism usually shut down when they enter a new or busy social environment.
- Repetitive behaviors and movements – Repeating specific behaviors such as shaking a leg, arm, or the head, making a repetitive facial expression, or even pulling the hair are often characteristic signs of this disorder.
- Trouble transitioning – A child who has autism may struggle to transition between tasks due to neurodevelopmental delays. Therefore, the child may respond well to a set routine. Unfortunately, even the smallest unpredictable change may lead to distress. Behavioral therapy that focuses on self-regulation can help with this issue.
- Unusual interests – Another telltale sign of autism involves focusing on unusual objects or interests intensely. For instance, a child with autism may appear to be obsessed with spoons, bottle tops, stamps, or other items that are not necessarily appropriate for playtime.
- Difficulty understanding emotions – In opposition to the notion that children with autism do not show emotion, they actually have a hard time interpreting others’ feelings. This means that their limited ability to interpret facial expressions or body language makes it seem as if they lack emotion, but this is not the case.
- Recurring sleep disturbances – About 80% of children who have autism experience chronic sleep problems. They are also twice as likely to suffer from insomnia. The main issues involve struggling to fall or remaining asleep, which unfortunately leads to sleep deprivation that worsens symptoms.
- Poor impulse control – Autism is also associated with insufficient impulse control. As a result, children with this disorder may disrupt conversations, have temper tantrums, or appear to be defiant at times. Their inability to process emotions, body language, and even situational cues is linked to poor impulse control.
The symptoms of autism vary widely, with each ranging from mild to severe. Therefore, each child with autism is unique and can experience neurodevelopmental benefits from individualized intervention that targets behavior, mental health, and nutritional status.
Certain nutrient deficiencies have also been shown in research to contribute to behavioral symptoms in children with ASD. Simply increasing nutrients across the board in the form of a multi vitamin and mineral supplement has helped children with autism. Since vitamins and minerals are crucial for brain development, it is no surprise that children with behavioral and neurological disorders have decreased levels of zinc, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega 3 fatty acids. Replacement of these nutrients has helped these children in a number of ways.
My Spectrum Heroes™ is a line of superior quality nutritional supplements designed to provide the nutritional needs of the developing nervous system with extra support for individuals with autism. Learn more about these products HERE
- Kotte A, et al. Autistic Traits in Children With and Without ADHD. Pediatrics. 2013;132(3): e612-e622.
- Zwaigenbaum L, Bauman ML, et al. Early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder under 3 years of age: Recommendations for practice and research. Pediatrics. 2015;136(Suppl 1):S60-81.
- Adams J. B., Holloway C. Pilot study of a moderate dose multivitamin/mineral supplement for children with autistic spectrum disorder. J. Altern. Complement Med.2004;10:1033-1039. 10.1089/acm.2004.10.1033
- Fujiwara T, Morisaki N, Honda Y, Sampei M, Tani Y. Chemicals, Nutrition, and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Mini-Review. Front Neurosci. 2016;10:174. Published 2016 Apr 20. doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00174