Autism: Signs and symptoms in children

Child with symptoms of autism

Parents receiving an autism diagnosis for their children are often shocked and confused, but today there are many resources and important tips to help children with autism thrive.

Early intervention is one critical way to help a child with autism. It is important for parents to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of the condition in children as early as possible.

Early indications and symptoms of autism

People with autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities.

Many people with autism also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things.

Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

Signs and symptoms of ASD in children

Below is the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s fact sheet on autism, which I often refer my patients to.

Remember, the key is to recognize and act as early as possible.

Children with autism might:

  • Not point at objects to show interest (for example, not pointing out an airplane in the sky)
  • Not look at objects when another person points them out
  • Have trouble relating or taking interest in others
  • Avoid eye contact and prefer to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Prefer not to be cuddled, or cuddle only when they want to
  • Appear to be unaware when people speak to them, but respond to other sounds
  • Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • Repeat or echo words or phrases, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or gestures
  • Not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to feed a baby doll)
  • Repeat actions
  • Have trouble adapting to change
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • Lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they previously used)

If you have questions about autism

If you think your child might have autism or you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, or acts, contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns.

Research has shown that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development.

In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help as soon as possible.

Want more information? I personally recommend the following 10 sites:

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