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What are symptoms of Autism?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can appear at two years old and can range from mild to severe. The challenges associated with ASD involve social, communication and behavioral challenges. There are many “red flags” that might indicate a positive diagnosis. The CDC has outlined the symptoms to watch for. These include:

  • By 12 months of age, they do not respond to their name
  • By 14 months, they do not point to objects of interest
  • By 18 months, they do play pretend games
  • Want to be alone and avoid eye contact
  • Have difficulty expressing their feelings or understanding other people’s feelings
  • Poor language and speech skills
  • Repetitive use of words and phrases (echolalia)
  • Answers questions that are unrelated to the topic
  • Minor changes cause tantrums
  • Obsessive interests
  • Repetitive body movements – flap their hands, rock their body or spin in circles
  • Sound, smell, taste, look, or feel cause unusual reactions

Social interactions can prove challenging for a child on the spectrum. Their inability to communicate can cause many emotional problems and other issues that many increase their anxiety in social situations. The CDC has listed social issues that are associated with ASD. These include:

  • By 12 months, does not respond to name
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Plays alone
  • Does not share interests with others
  • Only interacts to achieve a desired goal
  • Facial expressions are flat and inappropriate
  • Personal space boundary issues
  • Resistant to physical contact
  • Cannot be calmed in moments of distress
  • Have difficulty expressing their feelings or understanding other people’s feelings.

The CDC also lists issues concerning the lack of communication skills in children with ASD. This include:

  • Language and speech skills are delayed
  • Repetitive use of words or phrases (echolalia)
  • Pronoun reversal
  • Answers questions unrelated to the topic
  • Does not point to items of interest
  • Does not use gestures
  • Talks in a flat, robotic, or sing-song voice
  • Does not play pretend games
  • Does not understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing