FLAPPING ARMS – HEAD LAG – NO EYE CONTACT. IS IT AUTISM OR DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY?

UNDERSTANDING INFANT DEVELOPMENT TO RULE OUT EITHER


You went to visit your friends, and your baby was acting in a way that you have never seen her before.

Now you are worried.

Your 7-month-old baby got excited and started jumping in your arms. Then she suddenly started flapping her little arms. It lasted nearly a minute, but it felt like an eternity for you.


What if your baby is autistic or has developmental delays?

Like most mothers do, you most likely have heard and read about autism.

There is even a chance that you know someone who has a child with autism.

So you kind-of-know what to look for.
But you are not certain.

Naturally, you worry.
Worry that any behavior, movement or lack of it can be a sign of autism or developmental delay.

SO WHAT IS AUTISM?


Autism is a spectrum disorder.

On one end of the spectrum, there are children who behave almost like non-autistic children.

On the other end of the spectrum, some children are not able to learn even basic life skills.
And some can not control their behavior at all.

“Spectrum disorder” also means that not every child has the same symptoms/ signs/ delays/ challenges. Thus the diagnosis is given only to children who present with more than 1-2 signs.

So if your child is flapping their arms but has no other signs, he is most likely not autistic. 

Of course, there is a chance that you are not able to identify the other signs. That is why to be certain educate yourself as much as possible and seek professional help.

Knowing and understanding what the signs of autism and developmental delay is crucial for every mom.

THIS POST IS FOR YOU IF YOU ARE READY TO EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT CHILD DEVELOPMENT


This knowledge will empower you to assess and teach your baby.

It will also assist you to seek medical intervention when necessary and help your baby as soon as possible.

It will help you clarify that not all “weird” movements your baby does are a sign of autism. Some are naturally occurring milestone. And some are signs of developmental delay.

It will guide you to understand the naturally occurring infant movements, behaviors, milestones.

As a guide let’s use the signs and delays of autism.




The most common signs of Autism are:

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TEACHING KIDS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY WALKING

infant standing independently drawing

My success rate teaching kids to walk significantly improved when I changed my goal setting method. Instead of step by step goals, I now have one goal: walking.

This allows me to focus mostly on activating and strengthening muscles and muscle groups that keep the body upright and move the body forward in a standing position.

The beauty of this approach is that the children learn to sit, crawl on their own or with relatively small intervention.


toddler walking



a 21 steps approach

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BABY’S FIRST BIG MILESTONE: HEAD CONTROL

baby kicking arms legs on belly

Head control is essential because all of the following motor milestones depend on it.

Your baby can not roll, sit, crawl or stand without head control. Babies who have difficulties with head control will either need professional help, or they will learn to hold their head with compensation.

This compensation could affect the whole body, the developing movements, and skills.

mama with newborn baby

MILESTONES OF HEAD CONTROL: STAGE ONE
DAY ONE TILL THREE MONTHS OF AGE

YOUR FULL-TERM NEWBORN BABy

Your full-term newborn baby’s whole body is in a “flexion pattern” which means that the head, shoulders, arms, back; legs are all in the bent/forward position.

When you place your baby on her belly, she will not be able to straighten her arms, legs or back. This makes it a bit challenging to lift her head up.

Learning of motor skills and being out of the womb will help your baby’s flexion pattern disappear by the age of ~two months.

Full-term newborns have a reflex that helps when learning head control. If you place your full-term baby on her belly, – face forward onto the mattress – your baby will turn her head to one side to assist herself breathing easier.

This reflex will help your baby learn to lift her head up. 

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