Signs of Autism in Children

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects how a child communicates, interacts, and behaves with others. Autism is also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because it can vary widely in its symptoms and severity. Some children with autism may have mild challenges, while others may have more severe difficulties.

Autism usually appears in early childhood, often before the age of 3. However, some children may show signs of autism later, or may seem to develop normally until they suddenly regress or lose skills they had before. Therefore, it is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the possible signs of autism in children and seek help if they have any concerns.

What are the signs of autism in children?

The signs of autism in children can be grouped into two main categories: social communication and interaction skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests.

Social communication and interaction skills

Children with autism may have problems with social communication and interaction skills, such as:

    • Not responding to their name or appearing not to hear you at times

    • Avoiding eye contact or looking away when you talk to them

    • Not smiling when you smile at them or showing other facial expressions

    • Not playing simple interactive games like peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake by 12 months of age.

    • Not using gestures like pointing, waving, or nodding by 12 months of age

    • Not sharing interests or showing things they like by 15 months of age

    • Not pointing to show you something interesting by 18 months of age.

    • Not noticing or caring when others are hurt or upset by 24 months of age.

    • Not joining other children in play or showing interest in their activities by 36 months of age.

    • Not pretending to be someone else or playing make-believe by 48 months of age.

    • Not singing, dancing, or acting for you by 60 months of age.

    • Having difficulty understanding what others say or mean, or expressing their own thoughts and feelings

    • Having difficulty following directions or answering questions

    • Having difficulty taking turns, sharing, or cooperating with others

    • Having difficulty making friends or maintaining relationships

Restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests

Children with autism may have restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests that can seem unusual or obsessive. These behaviours or interests can include:

    • Lining up toys or other objects and getting upset when the order is changed.

    • Repeating words or phrases over and over (called echolalia) or using unusual language.

    • Playing with toys the same way every time or focusing on parts of objects (for example, wheels).

    • Getting upset by minor changes in routine or environment.

    • Having narrow or intense interests that exclude other topic.

    • Flapping hands, rocking body, spinning self, or making unusual movements.

    • Having unusual reactions to sensory stimuli, such as sounds, smells, tastes, textures, or lights.

Other characteristics

Some children with autism may also have other related characteristics that can affect their development and functioning. These can include:

    • Delayed language skills or difficulty speaking clearly.

    • Delayed motor skills or difficulty with balance, coordination, or fine movements.

    • Delayed cognitive skills or difficulty with learning, memory, reasoning, or problem-solving.

    • Hyperactive, impulsive, inattentive, or aggressive behavior.

    • Epilepsy or seizure disorder.

    • Unusual eating and sleeping habits.

    • Gastrointestinal issues (for example, constipation).

    • Unusual mood or emotional reactions.

    • Anxiety, stress, or excessive worry.

    • Lack of fear or more fear than expected.

It is important to note that not all children with autism will have all or any of the signs listed here. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that each child will have a unique pattern and level of symptoms. Some children may have more obvious signs, while others may have more subtle ones. Some children may have signs that change over time, while others may have signs that stay the same.

How can you get help for your child?

If you notice any signs of autism in your child, or if you have any concerns about your child’s development, you should talk to your child’s doctor as soon as possible. The doctor can screen your child for autism and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and diagnosis if needed.

Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for helping children with autism to reach their full potential. There are various treatments and therapies available for children with autism that can improve their skills, behaviors, and quality of life. The sooner you get help for your child, the better the outcomes will be.

We hope this article is helpful for you. For any ASD Services, Contact us Today!

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We acknowledge Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities as the Traditional Custodians of the land we work on and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise that their sovereignty was never ceded.

We are committed to cultivating inclusive environments for staff, consumers, and carers. We celebrate, value, and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies, and abilities.