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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Common Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Children- Simplified

If you are worried that your child or a loved one may have autism here is a list of the most common signs and behavioural traits to look out for.


In young children the following signs should lead you to consider further evaluation:


- Failure to coo or babble by or before one year old.
- Inability to speak single words by 16 months.
- Inability to communicate nonverbally, such as pointing at objects or waving, by age one.
- Inability to independently speak two-word phrases by age 2 (i.e., the child does not combine words without copying words spoken to him/her).
- Loses any communication or social skills at any age.


The above are general symptoms' of autism, but should not be considered as a definitive list.


More specific signs to look out for in children to help you better identify potential autistic behaviours are listed below:


- Failure to respond when his/her name is called.
- Inability to communicate his/her needs or wants verbally.
- Delays in verbal communication skills and repeating words or phrases instead of normal speech.
- Failure to follow directions.
- Occasionally appears to be deaf even though hearing test results are normal.
- Doesn't point at objects of interest.
- Doesn't wave good-bye or hello.
- Stops speaking.
- Unusually forceful tantrums and unusual emotional responses.
- Strange patterns of movement.
- Hyperactive, obstinate, or defiant. Can display overly aggressive behaviour or tendencies to self-harm.
- Appears not to know how to play with toys.
- Fails to smile when smiled at.
- Doesn't make or maintain appropriate eye contact.
- Performs repetitive motions or routines. Wants to have the same daily routine and dislikes change.
- Prefers playing alone.
- Thinks only to get things for himself/herself and not others.
- Exhibits more independence than is normal for his/her age.
- Early performance of activities.
- Ignoring or tuning out people. May not like to be hugged or have physical contact.
- Shows no interest in peers and may be scared of crowds.
- Tiptoe walking.
- Will only eat certain foods and have many food allergies.
- General ongoing digestion problems.
- Unusual sensitivity to normal noises, smells and an over or underdeveloped sensitivity to pain.
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.


Although it is unlikely that someone with autism would display ALL of the above signs, this list covers the common signs of autism.


If your child or loved one is displaying 8 or more symptoms from the list you should consider consulting a medical professional for further assessment.