What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Are There Earlier Differences?
Formal Definition of Autism
Does my child have autism?
Early autism spectrum disorder symptoms
Children who develop autism spectrum disorder show noticeable differences in their second year of life, but the differences begin to develop when the child is six or seven months old. Babies begin to show what researchers have seen as ‘Growth Seeking’. This drive has been called various names e.g. intrinsic motivation, productive mindset, personal agency, or mastery motivation. In RDI, we like to call it the ‘Growth Seeking Drive’. Research is showing that children who develop autism spectrum disorder also have this drive, but for some yet unknown reason, it does not awaken or isn’t strong enough.
Typically children with autism continue to grow physically, however they want much of their world to stay the same. Initially, the child will just passively resist the ‘encouragement’ from their parents but by the end of the second year, they begin to actively avoid. A child with autism spectrum disorder tries to maintain stability, whereas neurotypical children explore, discover and share.
Continued Progression of Autism
From here the child will develop their ‘autistic symptoms’. An autistic child will miss important milestones in their development, they may disconnect and share resistance and emerging repetitive behaviour patterns and challenges become threatening. A child may try to control surroundings and they can meltdown if things don’t go as expected. They work hard to support their search for the maintenance of sameness.