How do you know whether or not your child has autism or just learns differently from other children?  What are the signs of autism and is there treatment available?

First and foremost, the only way you can know for sure whether your child has autism is to go to a specialist and receive a professional verdict from them.  While this article lists some common signs of autism in children, it is ALWAYS best to go to a doctor or specialist for a proper examination and diagnosis.

For many parents, denial is go-to emotional state when their child is diagnosed with autism, and rightly so!  It is easier to deny the issue and hope that a child grows out of certain behavior instead of confronting it fully.  Let me just say that confronting autism is a very courageous thing for parents to do.  One interesting thing about autism is that the earlier it is caught in a child, the better their chances are for early intervention so that the child can adapt more easily to both their peers and their environment.  Again, the early it is caught and the earlier the intervention, the better the possible outcomes for the child to assimilate easily into their community.  So what are the tell-tale signs of Autism.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that affects brain development.  And according to, a growing body of research suggests that a woman can decrease her chances of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid during the months before and after conception.

Signs of Autism In a Child

The following list was compiled from a blog found here.  Keep in mind symptoms may vary from child-to-child.  This is why it is important to seek medical and professional advice and consultation.

  • If your child doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment;
  • If your child doesn’t smile when smiled at;
  • If your child doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed);
  • If your child doesn’t respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice;
  • If your child doesn’t follow objects visually;
  • If your child doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out;
  • If your child doesn’t make noises to get your attention;
  • If your child doesn’t point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate;
  • If your child doesn’t reach out to be picked up;
  • If your child doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling;
  • If your child doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions;
  • If your child doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests;

Finding a school in Malaysia, or in Petaling Jaya, which accepts children with autism is easier to find than you think.  However, this doesn’t mean that every school has a programme available that will support autistic children in learning and growing.  Finding a school in PJ for autistic children with behavioural analysis therapy is really the way to go.

Many organisations are taking a stand and educating the public about autism and programmes available – this is a good sign.  There have also been many schools that specialise in teaching and working with children with learning disabilities especially in the Petaling Jaya area.  Other schools have similarly opened or are in the process of opening specific divisions to support children with learning disabilities.

Again, first things first:  if your child has been diagnosed with autism keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with your child; your child simply learns differently than other children.  Keep in mind that autism affects children differently and the best way to know for certain is to see a specialist such as a neurologist, developmental paediatrician, psychiatrist or psychologist.

In summary, Autism Spectrum disorder affects each child differently.  Coincidentally some children may display stronger symptoms with more adverse effects.  If you would like to take the MCHAT-Revised (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised as a preliminary measure, click here (, but again, seeing a specialist for proper diagnosis is imperative.

Wishing you all the best!

Jana Moreno,