The main signs and symptoms of
autism involve problems in the following areas:
- Communication - both
verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (unspoken, such as
pointing, eye contact, and smiling)
- Social - such as sharing
emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and
holding a conversation
- Routines or repetitive
behaviors (also called stereotyped behaviors) - such as
repeating words or actions, obsessively following
routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways
The symptoms of autism can
usually be observed by 18 months of age.
There are many possible red
flags for autism - behaviors that may be signs or symptoms
of autism. Some features may mean a delay in one or more
areas of development, while others may be more typical of
autism spectrum disorders. If you think your child shows
red flags for autism, talk to your health care provider.
Possible Red Flags for Autism
The child does not respond to his/her
The child cannot explain what he/she
The child’s language skills are slow to
develop or speech is delayed.
The child doesn’t follow directions.
At times, the child seems to be deaf.
The child seems to hear sometimes, but not
The child doesn’t point or wave “bye-bye.”
The child used to say a few words or
babble, but now he/she doesn’t.
The child throws intense or violent
The child has odd movement patterns.
The child is overly active, uncooperative,
The child doesn’t know how to play with
The child doesn’t smile when smiled at.
! The child has poor eye contact.
The child gets “stuck” doing the same
things over and over and can’t move on to other things.
The child seems to prefer to play alone.
The child gets things for him/herself
The child is very independent for his/her
The child does things “early” compared to
The child seems to be in his/her “own
The child seems to tune people out.
The child is not interested in other
The child walks on his/her toes.
The child shows unusual attachments to
toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string
or having to put socks on before pants).
Child spends a lot of time lining things
up or putting things in a certain order.