Autism Symptoms – Top Ten List Of Signs Your Child Has Autism
When the symptoms of autism first appear in your child, it can be very scary, but with early detection and treatment, much improvement can be made. Below are the top ten symptoms of autism that your child might exhibit that can indicate an autism spectrum disorder.
Autism Symptoms Checklist
These symptoms can indicate not only autism but also Asperger's syndrome. Asperger's syndrome is a milder form of autism. The autism symptoms below typically are those that we look for in toddlers but they can apply to older children as well.
- Failure to respond to their name. If you call your young child's name, and he or she does not respond, this is not a good thing. At a certain age, your toddler or young child should recognize…and respond…when you call their name.
- Avoidance of eye contact. This can show up very early, it can even be one of the autism symptoms recognized in infants. Babies, later diagnosed with autism, often avoid eye contact with their mother. In addition, many autistic babies do not want to be held or cuddled. The mother may wonder if she is doing something wrong and may not realize–until much later–that autism is to blame, not her. Along with this is the tendency to not watch people's faces when your child does speak.
- Unresponsiveness. We do not know a lot about autism causes, but luckily we are getting better at recognizing the symptoms–both mild autism symptoms as well as the signs of more severe autism. One symptom of both is often a general unresponsiveness to people. Your child might not notice someone else is in the room, or if he does, he will not try to interact with them or respond to any attempts to try to engage him.
- Obsession with specific objects or things. Many children with autism will focus intently on one item to the exclusion of everything else. For example, they may watch the sun hit the window endlessly, or have a favorite toy that they will never give up.
- Focusing on details and blocking out all else. One example of this is a young child who plays with a toy car, but focuses all his attention on the spinning wheels. Perhaps he spins them over and over and doesn't play with the car in the way another child might.
- Repetitive actions or activities. Does your child perform the same actions over and over again? Obsessively playing with a piece of string? Going through certain motions or a sequence of motions that they can't quite break out of? Having very set routines with their toys that you can't break or else it will cause a huge meltdown? This is another sign.
- Watching the same videos over and over again. Autistic kids are famous for this. Disney movies are a special favorite. Many kids with autism feel reassured by sameness, and it makes them feel secure to watch the same movie over and over or the same part of the movie over and over. Since they know what is going to happen, there are no surprises. This makes the world feel safer to them.
- Repetitive movements. Rocking or twirling are other common early autism signs. This is what is known as a self-stimulatory behavior. It is often used to try to shut the world around them out when they are overwhelmed. This way, they can focus on the internal stimuli of rocking instead of all the other emotions that come along with being overwhelmed.
- Self-injurious behavior is, unfortunately, another common sign of autism. This can often take the form of banging one's head or hand-biting. It is done out of frustration and as a way to focus on the stimuli from this behavior instead of the feelings inside.
- Delayed speech. While this is a common sign of autism it is not a common sign of Asperger's syndrome, a milder form of autism. Kids with autism will often not talk until they are 3, 4, 5 or older. Some people with autism will never speak.
If your child has any of these autism signs, it is worthwhile to take your child to a doctor or psychologist for an evaluation. Remember, early detection is critically important, so be sure to schedule an appointment if you suspect anything, even mild autism symptoms. This autism symptoms checklist is not comprehensive, but covers the most common symptoms of autism, especially for toddlers and younger children. And remember, help is available. Recent advances in therapy and treatment for autism can help your loved one overcome many of the challenges of autism.
For details about therapies and suggestions from parents that can help both children and adults live full and happy lives see the book The Autism Survival Guide. There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Autism Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.
And for those who worry about how to pay for all of these autism treatments and therapy, see the article, "Health Plans Must Cover Autism Screening"