How Autism Affects Children’s Development

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It should be no surprise that children who have been diagnosed with autism develop at a different rate and capacity than children without autism.

Autism shows itself differently in children depending on its severity, but it affects very similar areas of development. One of the major challenges lies in how children communicate and interact with those around them, whether family members or complete strangers.

For those who want to learn more about the effects of autism within various stages of development, here is how it can show itself in a child’s growth:

How Autism Affects Speech

Not only does autism influence the rate of development, it can cause the order of development to vary from child to child. For example, for a child with autism, it is more likely that they will learn vocabulary at a much slower rate, often taking years before they can begin to string words together to form complete sentences. And, of course, there is always the possibility that they may remain nonverbal for the rest of their lives.

How Autism Affects Interaction

Some children are simply quieter than others, often shying away from communication, even if it is with someone who is familiar to them. Children who have autism often don’t make a lot of eye contact with other individuals and aren’t prone to gesture to someone unless told to, like waving hello or goodbye to someone as they are leaving. This ability to focus and engage is referred to as joint attention.

How Autism Affects Understanding

Children who have been diagnosed with autism often don’t have the capacity to see where other people are coming from or why they engage in certain behaviors. This is a social skill that helps people form relationships with one another, so this is a reason why many children with autism have difficulty getting along with other children. They are often not aware of how their behavior affects those around them.

How Autism Affects Focus

We rely on our organizational skills to get us through our days, but this is a skill that doesn’t always develop completely in children with autism when they are younger. As you can imagine, this hinders their ability to learn, which is why school can be a major challenge for children with autism. Some may understand certain aspects of a subject, but are not able to put together everything they were taught in order to come to a complete and clear conclusion.

from Catharine Toso, Psychotherapist (Newtown, PA)

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