When Can Parents Start to Notice Signs of Autism in Children?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is created by differences within the brain structure and functioning. Differences within the brain can be caused by genetic causes while others living with ASD may have differences that are still unknown to scientists, but it is believed that there are multiple causes for ASD that act together leading to an ASD diagnosis. Children living with autism will exhibit different ways of communicating, learning, and interacting compared to other people. Individuals with autism may have different abilities as this disorder is on a spectrum meaning that each person will have a range of manifestations.

As a parent, you want the best for your children including providing appropriate and timely support if your child is demonstrating signs of autism. Children will often begin to exhibit signs of autism at an early age and providing early intervention methods and treatments will help your child develop the necessary and appropriate skills and tools to have a healthy, stable life. It is important to be aware of some of the early signs of autism that can appear ages 1-2.  Paying attention to these signs will help you begin the treatment and interventions for autism before having to wait until you notice your child’s development is not progressing at the typical developmental stages of talking or social interaction or communication. The early signs and indicators will enable you to support your child in developing appropriate strategies to support healthy development and growth.

45 Symptoms of Autism in Children

signs of autism in children

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder will impact each person differently as the diagnosis is based on a spectrum of presentations and impacts that each child will experience. Autism will present itself within individuals through cognitive impairments, social impairments, repetitive behaviors, and difficulties with communication.

signs of autism in children

Early Signs of Autism

Early signs of autism within children to be aware of that will support early detection of autism are

● Problems with eye contact

● Difficulties with nonverbal communication

● No response to his or her name

● Problems with following another person’s gaze or finger

●  Poor skills in pretend play or imagination

● Want to be left alone

● Avoid or resist physical contact

● Engaging in rocking their body, flapping their hands, or spin in circles which is also referred to as “stimming”

● Have no speech or delayed speech

● Not showing emotional facial expressions such as happy, sad, or mad before 9 months of age

● Not playing simple interactive games such as pat-a-cake ‘

● Children unaware or noticing when other children are playing and attempting to engage in play with them

signs of autism in children

Change of Symptoms with Aging

As individuals age, symptoms can progress and change. Other signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are:

● Not showing interest in activities or unable to point or identify things of interest

● Give unrelated responses or answers to questions

● Repetition of words and phrases over and over again also known as echolalia

● Getting upset or agitated by minor changes

● Becoming obsessed over one interest where it is the sole focus

● Having little to no social skills during social interactions

● Having difficulties showing or understanding emotions within themselves or others

● Demonstrating unusual reactions to sounds. Sights, or smells that are oversensitive or under sensitive to the stimuli

● Liking or enjoying specific part of an object such as wheels etc

● Having unusual interests or hobbies

● Lining items or toys up in a row

● Having heightened anxiety and phobias

● Engaging in toys or play in the exact same way each time

● Short attention span

● Hyperactivity

● Unusual eating and sleeping habits

● Experiencing meltdowns or an inability to regulate emotions

● Aggression

● Having impulsive behaviors

● Irregular emotions or responses to certain situations

● Lack of fear or having more fear then normal

● Demonstrating an inability to read social cues or non verbal communication within others

● Lack of understanding of appropriate behaviors within school and social settings

● Experience challenges in making friends or maintaining friendships

● Having to follow a particular routine each day and if it is not followed, becoming upset or agitated

● Delayed language skills and development

● Impaired or delayed learning skills

● Cognitive development hindered

● Inattentive behavior

● In some cases, children may show signs similar to epilepsy or seizure disorders

● Some children may experience gastrointestinal issues such as constipation

● In some children’s cases, they may regress where they stop talking, social skills become impaired, or there are changes within play behaviors and interactions

● Not sharing interests or achievements with others

signs of autism in children

When Should You Get Help if You See Signs of Autism in Children?

As a parent, if you begin to notice signs of autism within your child, you want to take the necessary steps to get the appropriate treatment and interventions to support healthy development. If your child begins to exhibit specific signs and expressions of autism within the first 24 months, you can speak with a physician who can complete initial screening and diagnosis testing. The screening process will often include a questionnaire along with monitoring of behaviors and interactions that will help to determine a positive diagnosis for your child.  Once the screening process is completed, you will then be encouraged to complete the formal diagnosing process of formal evaluation that is completed by a trained specialist of either a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or other designated specialists. During the evaluation process, your child will be monitored for their behaviors, interactions, emotional responses, and language skills. This evaluation will shed light on the symptoms that your child is exhibiting and if they are determined to be living with autism spectrum disorder. This evaluation will highlight your child’s strengths and challenges that will help to determine appropriate and meaningful treatments that are tailored to meet the developmental needs of your child. Treatments for autism are focused on specific developmental and growth areas including:

● Behavioral

● Educational

● Developmental

● Psychological

● Pharmaceutical

● Socio-relational

● Complementary and alternative treatment methods

signs of autism in children

How The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis Can Help Your Child with Autism

At The Cardinal Center for Behavioral Analysis, we believe that an autism diagnosis does not change who your child is nor does it mean that your child needs to be cured of their autism. We fundamentally believe that an autism diagnosis helps you to better understand your child and how to effectively motivate and engage with them. Our center is based on supporting families with specific programming and support that will foster healthy learning and development within your children and enhance your parenting skills and support. Parents will be provided with tools and teaching methods that you can use to support your child throughout each developmental stage. Children that access our center will be invited to participate in various forms of class and therapy methods that will encourage developmentally appropriate skill building and provide intervention strategies to overcome any challenges that present themselves. Children will have the opportunity to engage in individual therapy approaches along with group therapy methods that will allow them to develop the social and language skills needed to interact with others and grow. We strongly believe that a child with an autism diagnosis has the right to thrive and grow like any other child which is why we provide individualized care to each child in our center to help foster personal growth and healthy development. Contact The Cardinal Center today to hear more about how we can support you and your child to have positive growth and development.


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