Signs and Symptoms of Autism
Autism is not easy to diagnose as it is a spectrum disorder, and so can have many degrees of severity. However, there are some signs of autism that are common among those who do go on to be formally diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.
In young children the following signs should lead you to consider further evaluation:
- Failure to coo or babble by or before one year old.
- Inability to speak single words by 16 months.
- Inability to communicate nonverbally, such as pointing at objects or waving, by age one.
- Inability to independently speak two-word phrases by age 2 (i.e., the child does not combine words without copying words spoken to him/her).
- Loses any communication or social skills at any age.
The above are general symtoms of autism, but should not be considered as a definative list.
More specific signs to look out for in children to help you better identify potential autistic behaviours are listed below:
- Failure to respond when his/her name is called.
- Inability to communicate his/her needs or wants verbally.
- Delays in verbal communication skills and repeating words or phrases instead of normal speech.
- Failure to follow directions.
- Occasionally appears to be deaf even though hearing test results are normal.
- Doesn’t point at objects of interest.
- Doesn’t wave good-bye or hello.
- Stops speaking.
- Unusually forceful tantrums and unusual emotional responses.
- Strange patterns of movement.
- Hyperactive, obstinate, or defiant. Can display overly aggressive behavior or tendencies to self-harm.
- Appears not to know how to play with toys.
- Fails to smile when smiled at.
- Doesn’t make or maintain appropriate eye contact.
- Performs repetitive motions or routines. Wants to have the same daily routine and dislikes change.
- Prefers playing alone.
- Thinks only to get things for him/herself and not others.
- Exhibits more independence than is normal for his/her age.
- Early performance of activities.
- Ignoring or tuning out people. May not like to be hugged or have physical contact.
- Shows no interest in peers and may be scared of crowds.
- Tiptoe walking.
- Will only eat certain foods and have many food allergies.
- General ongoing digestion problems.
- Unusual sensitivity to normal noises, smells and an over or underdeveloped sensitivity to pain.
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.
Although it is unlikely that an autistic person would display all of the above signs, this list covers the common signs of autism.
If you’re worried that your loved one may have autism or your child has already received a formal diagnosis and you are wondering which way to turn next I would recommend you read ‘The Essential Guide to Autism’, an easy to follow, comprehensively researched downloadable book by Rachel Evans.
The Essential Guide to Autism covers vital autism information helping you to get a diagnosis, decide on which treatments are suitable for your loved one, whether diet or nutritional supplements provide relief from autism behaviors, along with information how autism effects the wider family and what to do, education, the teenage years and planning for the future. Discover how you can help to maximize the potential of someone with autism by reading The Essential Guide to Autism.