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What are Symptoms of Autism?

Updated: Jan 20

Symptoms of Autism
Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that affects how a person perceives and interacts with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also involves restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to a wide range of symptoms and severity.

Autism spectrum disorder includes conditions that were previously considered separate — autism, Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder. Some people still use the term "Asperger's syndrome", which is generally thought to be on the mild end of the autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder begins in early childhood and eventually causes problems with social functioning — such as socially, at school, and at work. Children often show symptoms of autism within the first year. A small number of children appear to develop normally in the first year and then go through a period of regression between 18 and 24 months of age when they develop symptoms of autism.

Although there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, intensive and early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.

Symptoms of Autism

Some children show signs of autism spectrum disorder in early childhood, such as limited eye contact, lack of response to their names, or indifference to caregivers. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive, or lose the language skills they have already acquired. Symptoms usually appear by age 2.

Each child with an autism spectrum disorder is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior and level of severity – from low functioning to high functioning. Some children with autism spectrum disorder have learning difficulties and some have lower than normal intelligence scores. Other children with this disorder have normal to high intelligence - they learn quickly but have trouble communicating and applying what they know in everyday life and adapting to social situations.

Due to each child's unique mix of symptoms, severity can sometimes be difficult to determine. Generally, this is based on the level of impairment and how it affects the ability to function.

Here are some common symptoms that people with autism spectrum disorder exhibit.

  1. Patterns of behavior

A child or adult with autism spectrum disorder may have limited, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, including any of these symptoms:

  • Performs repetitive movements such as rocking, spinning, or waving

  • Performs activities that could cause self-harm, such as biting or head banging

  • He develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change

  • Has problems with coordination or has unusual movement patterns such as clumsiness or tiptoeing and has strange, stiff or exaggerated body language

  • He is fascinated by the details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but does not understand the object's overall purpose or function

  • Is unusually sensitive to light, sound, or touch, yet may be indifferent to pain or temperature

  • It does not engage in imitation or pretend play

  • Fixates on an object or activity with abnormal intensity or focus

  • Has specific food preferences, such as eating only a few foods or rejecting foods with a certain texture

As they grow older, some children with autism spectrum disorder become more involved with others and show fewer behavioral disturbances. Some, usually those with the least severe problems, can eventually lead normal or near-normal lives. However, others continue to struggle with language or social skills, and adolescence can bring worse behavioral and emotional problems.

2. Social communication and interaction

A child or adult with autism spectrum disorder may have problems with social interaction and communication skills, including any of these symptoms:

  • He doesn't respond to his name or doesn't seem to hear you at times

  • He resists cuddling and holding and seems to prefer to play alone, withdrawing into his own world

  • He makes poor eye contact and lacks facial expression

  • Does not speak or has delayed speech or loses previous ability to say words or sentences

  • Can't start or keep a conversation going, or only starts a conversation to send requests or tag items

  • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm and may use a singing voice or robot-like speech

  • Repeats words or phrases verbatim but does not understand how to use them

  • They don't seem to understand simple questions or directions

  • He does not express emotions or feelings and seems unaware of the feelings of others

  • It does not point to objects or bring them to share an interest

  • Approaches social interaction inappropriately by being passive, aggressive, or disruptive

  • Has difficulty recognizing non-verbal cues, such as interpreting other people's facial expressions, body posture, or tone of voice

When to see a doctor

Children develop at their own pace, and many do not follow the exact timelines found in some parenting books. But children with autism spectrum disorder usually show some signs of developmental delay before age 2.

If you have concerns about your child's development or suspect that your child may have an autism spectrum disorder, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Symptoms associated with the disorder may also be associated with other developmental disorders.

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder often appear early in development, when delays in language skills and social interactions are evident. Your doctor may recommend developmental tests to see if your child has delays in cognitive, language, and social skills if your child:

  1. By 6 months he does not respond with a smile or a happy expression

  2. Does not imitate sounds or facial expressions until 9 months

  3. By 12 months he does not babble or growl

  4. By 14 months, he does not make gestures - for example, point or wave

  5. He won't say a word until 16 months

  6. By 18 months, he does not play "pretend" or pretend

  7. Does not say two-word phrases within 24 months

  8. Loses language or social skills at any age


There is no way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, but there are treatment options. Early diagnosis and intervention are very helpful and can improve behavior, skills, and language development. However, intervention is useful at any age. Although children usually do not outgrow the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, they can learn to function well.

Tips for Parents

  • Learn as much as you can about autism spectrum disorder

  • Provide consistent structure and routine

  • Connect with other parents of children with autism

  • In case of specific problems, seek professional help

  • Make time for yourself and other family members

Having a child with autism affects the whole family. It can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. It is important to pay attention to the physical and emotional health of the whole family. Geniuslane Child Development Centre provides information, resources, and support to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

For any query related to autism, you can call on +91-7669988833 / +91-0522-4082221

Also, you can WhatsApp on +91-9598157092

Or visit our website

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