One of the primary reasons why autism was renamed to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is because of the wide range of symptoms and the degrees to which they present themselves. In fact, the symptoms of this developmental disorder are so widely varied that autism was often commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed, which is why medical experts regrouped them under ASD.
Since language and communication are affected by ASD, our team of speech therapists here at Celebrations Speech Group has extensive experience with this condition and we’re here to help.
One of the first things to understand about ASD is that early intervention can make all the difference, which is why we’re taking this opportunity to outline 10 common signs of autism in children.
1. Avoiding eye contact
If you’re unable to make eye contact with your toddler or child and they avoid it when you try, this is one of the common red flags of ASD.
2. Lack of early nonverbal communication
During your child’s first year, watch out for signs of poor communication, such as:
- Not responding to their name
- Few smiles
- Little babbling
- No hand gestures, such as pointing or waving
These signs come before the time when your child should develop language skills.
3. Lack of language skills
If your child isn’t verbally communicating by the age of two, this could be a sign of ASD, though there are other issues that can affect early language skills.
If your child does speak but it’s mostly repeating words or phrases, this is what we call echolalia and it could be a sign of ASD.
5. Speech regression
If your child starts out speaking, but then slowly withdraws from language, this could indicate ASD.
6. Specialized interests
As your child gets older, they may develop specialized or restricted interests, with little interest in other activities you may introduce.
Children with ASD have trouble communicating and socializing so withdrawal and isolation are extremely common.
8. Repetitive behaviors
If your child engages in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking back and forth, flapping their hands, or spinning around, this may be a form of self-soothing that’s seen in ASD.
9. Resistance to change
Children with ASD often like routine and any deviation from that routine is met with resistance.
10. Reactions to stimuli
Children with ASD display excessive sensitivity and often react unusually to different stimuli. For example, loud noises can be met with an intense reaction, as well as exposure to different touch sensations, such as sand at the beach. On the flip side, children with ASD are often comforted by certain sensations, such as touching a soft fabric.
As you can see by this list, the signs of ASD are varied. Making matters more complicated is the fact that children can display different degrees of these symptoms, which makes diagnosing ASD complex. If you suspect your child has ASD, it’s imperative that you seek a professional assessment so that we can take the steps necessary to help your child better integrate and communicate with the world around them.