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Autism is a complex disorder that affects babies/infants adversely. Read on to find out about the signs and symptoms of autism in toddlers.

Autism in Babies

Having a baby calls in for a lot of alertness. Parents need to always be on their toes for any negligence on their part can make the baby suffer for the whole life. Babies are in a stage of development, but the process of their development can be hampered and slowed down by many diseases and disorders. One such disorder is �Autism�. Autism is a complex brain disorder that affects many aspect of child development, including how a kid talks, plays and interacts. This is a disorder that appears in early childhood affecting their basic expressive skills. The severity of the disease and its symptoms differ from one child to another. Some autistic children have only mild impairments while some have more obstacles to overcome. To detect a child suffering with this disorder is not all that difficult, and the sooner the symptoms are detected, the better it is for the child. It is very important to sight the warning signs in toddlers, and the moment the signs are detected, help should be sought at the earliest.

Signs & Symptoms Of Autism In Babies

Communication Problems
Babies suffering from this disorder may suffer communication problems. They may face problems both in verbal and non-verbal communication. Spoken language is delayed in autistic babies and may even be absent. Even if they are able to speak, they might have difficulty in doing so freely and easily. Other symptoms involve odd or repetitive speech pattern, inappropriate facial expressions and gestures.

Impaired Social Skills
Children suffering from this disorder have impaired social interaction. They may lack in interest for their surroundings and people around. These children are always in their own world, not interacting or playing with others. They face trouble in sharing emotions, making friends and understanding the feelings and thinking of others.

Babies are usually curious and playful. However, a baby suffering with autism will not be interested in human attention. They will not respond to any attention or any gesture made towards them. They will be least affected and bothered about what is happening around them.

Stereotypical Behavior
Autistic children often depict stereotypical or repetitive and restricted behavior and interests. They may show extreme restriction to change, obsession towards unusual objects, inflexible routines and schedules. They also are subject to repetitive body movements like hand flapping, rocking etc.

Lack of gestures and expressions is the sign of babies suffering with autism. When infants reach their first birthday, it is a stepping stone for them to a new world. They are curious and eager to use their limited communication skills to know about the world around. It is not the same with kids suffering with autism. They are least interested in knowing anything and might not perform typical gestures like babies of their age, such as waving hands, or pointing towards something.

Lack Of Bonding
Babies suffering with this disorder might not bond with their parents, siblings or other members of the family. They may react the same way to their parents as they do with the strangers.

Nothing Interests Them
Autistic babies are very different from any other babies. They may not get attracted to popular play items like ball, stuffed toys, dolls etc. They have their own way of passing time. They will perform repetitive actions like rotating their hands, turning the pages of books etc.

Causes Of Autism
The causes of autism are generally unknown, but experts label them as genetic and environmental.

Genetic Causes
Research has proved that genes inherited have a crucial role to play in getting autism along. However, no single gene is to be blamed. Scientists believe that atleast 5 to 20 major genes are involved in autism, with others contributing to the risk. The evidence that autism is hereditary comes from twin studies. Multiple twin stories show that when one identical twin develops the disorder, it is very likely for other to get affected in 9 out of 10 cases. In fraternal twins the ratio is 1 in 10. Studies have also proved that older parents are significantly at higher risk of having autistic babies. The age of father appears to be more important.

Environmental Causes
Genes alone do not explain the rising cases of autism, so scientists are also looking for answers in the environment. The idea is that toxic chemicals or other harmful elements in the environment may trigger autism, either by turning on or exasperating a genetic vulnerability, or independently disturbing brain development. Studies have suggested that autism can be triggered by exposure to viral infections, pesticides, insecticide at the time of pregnancy. Oxygen deprivation during delivery can also increase the risk of autism. Air pollution, food additives, flame retardants and certain chemicals used to make plastic and other synthetic materials can also cause autism. These toxins are more dangerous for young babies whose brains are more likely to absorb these toxins, but less effective in clearing them out.

There is no best treatment package for those suffering with autism. However, experts believe that a well-structured specialized program can help. Early detection of the signs and early medical reference is very important. Before taking decision about child�s treatment, parents must do as much research as possible. Parents should also ask questions like, how successful will be the program? Is the staff well trained? How are activities planned and organized? How is the progress measured? Asking these questions will not only make the doctors responsible, but will also provide you an insight of what is taking place with your baby.