Here are 10 things that every parent in Singapore must know about ASD before and after starting a family.
#1. What is Autism?
Autism is a condition that affects the ability of a person to think, feel, interact with others, and deal with their surrounding environment. It is estimated that 1% of the population in Singapore are on the autism spectrum.
#2. Statistics on Autism in Singapore & ASD on Data in the world
- United States: 1 in 44 children has been identified with ASD, which is 35% higher than the previous estimated report published in 2014. (Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, CDC 2021)
- Singapore: 1% of the population is estimated to be diagnosed with ASD, though the local prevalence rates are not known exactly. (HealthXchange.sg by Singhealth) A recent report published in 2021, there are at least 400 new cases diagnosed annually in Singapore and the risk of a sibling having ASD is up by 20% (National University Health System)
- Worldwide:1 in 160 children has an ASD (the World Health Organization, WHO, 2021)
#3. How do we describe autism?
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder developed during early childhood. It can be identified by a triad of difficulties in communication, social interaction, rigid behavior, interests and activities. Autism can affect kids even if they are really smart and/or have an outgoing personality. Some autistic children may also have other special needs such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.
Currently, the Autism Spectrum Disorder category includes:
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS / Atypical Autism)
#4. What challenges are associated with autism?
Depending on the severity of their symptoms, a child with autism may be described as ‘high’ or ‘low’ functioning. The low functioning children may throw temper tantrums or behave socially inappropriately. High functioning children can manage their own behavior; however, they may find themselves unable to make friends or be the target of school bullies. As adults, they may have difficulties holding on to their jobs due to their weak social skills.
#5. What are the common characteristics of a child suspected of autism?
Autism is not caused by a shy personality, poor parenting or childhood trauma, and almost all researchers would agree that it is due to genetic causes.
Children with autism encounter various difficulties in their daily life because they cannot do the “simple” things that we take for granted. It is definitely a big misunderstanding to see the child as shy or attention-seeking.
One simple test to know if the child has autism is to see if they spontaneously point at objects to share experiences (e.g. showing a beautiful butterfly to parents). If the child only points at objects to make requests (e.g. asking for food), they might be on the autism spectrum, and it is best to get your free Assessment to be absolutely sure.
#6. What are the myths and misunderstandings about the characteristics of autism?
Many parents have the misconception that if their child does not speak at an appropriate age, an experienced speech therapist and attending lots of speech therapy will be able to solve the problem. However, speech delays and difficulties may just be symptoms of deeper problems.
If the child exhibits the early signs of autism, early intervention is required as soon as possible to help solve many issues before it is too late. With the help of an excellent early intervention preschool in Singapore, the success rate to help a child recover from autism will be higher and enter a mainstream school.
#7. What should parents do if their child is suspected of ASD?
In order to detect symptoms as early as possible, parents can pay close attention to how well their child is meeting developmental milestones. If the child misses a few milestones by a few weeks, it is not an issue. However, if they consistently miss milestones, parents are advised to seek professional advice.
Infants and toddlers who may have autism will usually not:
- Follow objects visually
- Follow the gestures of other people who are pointing at things
- Make eye contact (e.g. look at the people feeding them)
- Respond to familiar voices and own name
- Imitate facial expressions, such as smiling back when seeing other people smiling at them
- Use gestures such as waving at other people and pointing at objects of interest
- Make noises to get other people’s attention
- Respond to cuddling or play invitations
- Initiate hugs or reach out to be picked up
- Make requests such as asking for help
Claim your free Assessment (worth $297) to be absolutely sure today.
#8. Why is joint attention a major developmental milestone?
A useful point to remember is that children with autism are especially weak with joint attention. This means that they cannot spontaneously notice what other people around them are noticing and share the same focus as these people.
For instance, a typical child may initiate communication by looking at his mother. As his mother’s gaze meets his, he then points at a beautiful butterfly. His mother then looks at the butterfly. Then she makes eye contact with him again. Subsequently, both of them smile at each other to acknowledge their understanding.
In contrast, children with autism point at objects to make requests (e.g. asking for food). These children do not automatically make eye contact or acknowledge the existence of other people and give the impression that they are living in a world of their own.
#9. Where to get an Autism Assessment in Singapore?
You can get a formal autism assessment from a Developmental and Behavioral Paediatrician in Singapore.
Who are the Developmental and Behavioral Paediatricians?
Developmental and Behavioral Paediatricians focus on improving development, learning and behavioral issues/ concerns in infants, preschoolers and young kids.
Claim your Free Assessment at Autism Recovery Network (ARN)
Often, most parents do not wish to take a formal assessment. This is because if the results are positive, their child will be labelled as ‘autistic’. If you do not wish your child to be ‘labelled’ but wish to seek help, a good option is for you to claim your free Assessment (worth $297) at ARN today.
#10. Where can I learn more about Autism?
Here are some helpful links for ASD Parents in Singapore.
Conclusion About Autism In Singapore
Let us work together to help your child. At ARN, we don’t just prepare your child for school; we prepare your child for the world. If you are looking for therapy for the first time or still require a bit more guidance, click on the button below to answer a short questionnaire now.