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23 April 2013

All about autism

Read more about the signs and symptoms of autism in both babies and older children.

  • Doesn’t make eye contact (e.g. look at you when being fed).
  • Doesn't smile when smiled at.
  • Doesn't respond to his or her name or to the sound of a familiar voice.
  • Doesn’t follow objects visually.
  • Doesn't point or wave goodbye or use other gestures to communicate.
  • Doesn’t follow the gesture when you point things out.
  • Doesn’t make noises to get your attention.
  • Doesn’t initiate or respond to cuddling.
  • Doesn’t imitate your movements and facial expressions.
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up.
  • Doesn’t play with other people or share interest and enjoyment.
  • Doesn’t ask for help or make other basic requests.

  • By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions.
  • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions.
  • By 12 months: Lack of response to name.
  • By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk.”
  • By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving.
  • By 16 months: No spoken words.
  • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating.

Signs in older children

  • Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them.
  • Doesn’t know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
  • Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
  • Doesn’t play "pretend" games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
  • Has trouble understanding or talking about feelings.
  • Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to him or her.
  • Doesn't share interests or achievements with others (drawings, toys).

  • Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch (e.g. ends every sentence as if asking a question).
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over.
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
  • Refers to themselves in the third person.
  • Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words).
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
  • Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
  • Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humour, irony, and sarcasm).

  • Avoids eye contact.
  • Uses facial expressions that don't match what he or she is saying.
  • Doesn’t pick up on other people’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures.
  • Makes very few gestures (such as pointing). May come across as cold or “robot-like.”
  • Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises.
  • Abnormal posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving (e.g. walking exclusively on tiptoe).

  • Follows a rigid routine (e.g. insists on taking a specific route to school)
  • Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment (e.g. throws a tantrum if the furniture is rearranged or bedtime is at a different time than usual).
  • Unusual attachments to toys or strange objects such as keys, light switches, or rubber bands.
  • Obsessively lines things up or arranges them in a certain order.
  • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols (e.g. memorizing and reciting facts about maps, train schedules, or sports statistics).
  • Spends long periods of time arranging toys in specific ways, watching moving objects such as a ceiling fan, or focusing on one specific part of an object such as the wheels of a toy car.
  • Repeats the same actions or movements over and over again, such as flapping hands, rocking, or twirling (known as self-stimulatory behaviour or “stimming”). Some researchers and clinicians believe that these behaviours may soothe children with autism more than stimulate them.

  • Hand flapping
  • Rocking back and forth
  • Spinning in a circle
  • Finger flicking
  • Head banging
  • Staring at lights
  • Moving fingers in front of the eyes
  • Snapping fingers     
  • Tapping ears
  • Scratching
  • Lining up toys
  • Spinning objects
  • Wheel spinning
  • Watching moving objects
  • Flicking light switches on and off
  • Repeating words or noises

 
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