How can I tell if a child has autism?



Adel M. Zeglam

Alkhadra Hospital, Tripoli, Libya

JMJ Vol. 2, No. 4 (September 2003): 15-18


“I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something wrong with my son. At first we thought may be he was deaf, as he didn’t respond when called his name, but the doctor says his hearing is fine and there is nothing wrong with his intelligence. But he does not play with his toys like normal kids of his age. Instead he spends hours watching machine go round and round. Other people tell me I ‘am just being neurotic but I ‘am his mother. I know something’s up. I just wish I knew what it was”.
All too often this is the type of story told to the front line professionals as parents and carers desperately seek answers to the cause of their child’s distressing and strange behaviour. Yet a great deal of misery could be prevented if sufficient numbers of the professionals involved had the knowledge and information to hand to ask themselves could this be autism?
In the review I will use Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) instead of the Autistic Continuum Disorder. In the past both terms have been used to refer to the wide range of autistic conditions. However spectrum is now preferable. It suggests a collection of related but varied conditions whereas the continuum suggests a smooth transition from one end to the other, which is not the case autistic disorder.

Keywords: Autism, ASD