Signs Of Autism

Common Signs of Autism: What to Look For

Signs Your Child Has Autism

First things first: it’s crucial to understand that your child is an amazing, talented, intelligent, and compassionate individual. Just because they may display autism signs doesn’t make them less of a person. They simply need a little extra guidance to help them find their voice, express themselves and discover their interests.

Knowing what to look for can be challenging. Understanding what is typical for developing children and what may be considered more neurodiverse is essential when determining whether your child could benefit from ABA therapy.

  • By
  • 6

  • months
  • Your child displays very few engaging expressions like big smiles.
  • He or she shows no affection toward you.
  • They make little to no eye contact
  • By
  • 9

  • months
  • Your son or daughter doesn’t share back-and-forth sounds, smiles, or other expressions.
  • They don’t turn their head to see where a sound is coming from.
  • By
  • 12

  • months
  • Your child isn’t crawling.
  • They express little to no babbling.
  • Your son or daughter doesn’t point at objects, reach for them, or show them.
  • By
  • 16

  • months
  • He or she speaks very few words.
  • They show little or no response to their name.
  • By
  • 24

  • months
  • Your child uses few or no two-word phrases.
  • They don’t imitate your words or actions.
  • He or she has trouble following simple instructions.
  • At
  • ANY

  • Age
  • Your child has difficulty understanding others’ feelings.
  • They express resistance to minor changes in routine.
  • They engage in repetitive behaviors.

Autism Signs in Adults and Teens

Understanding autism is something everyone should strive to do, not only for our exceptional children but also for teens and adults who may struggle with autism symptoms, even if they’ve never received a formal diagnosis.

According to the CDC, over 5.4 million U.S. adults have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With over 2% of the population falling into this category, understanding the signs of autism is crucial. When you do, you can treat them with more grace and compassion.

Signs of autism in teens and adults include:

  • Feeling anxious in social situations
  • Difficulty understanding others’ thoughts and feelings
  • Coming across as blunt or rude without trying to
  • Taking things literally
  • Requiring the same daily routine to avoid anxiety about changes
  • Trouble expressing feelings and emotions
  • Misunderstanding social “rules”
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Disliking when other people touch or get too close to them

Common Signs Of the Three Levels of Autism

Not all children with autism will display the same level of need. In fact, there are three functional levels of autism as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Level three is the most severe form of autism, requiring very substantial support. Level two requires support, but not as much, and children with ASD level one require the least amount of support.

The signs your child has autism, no matter what level they are on, may be similar to other levels of ASD. But their level of need will differ depending on their individual strengths and challenges. At Pediatric Behavior Solutions, we tailor your child’s ABA therapy to help them achieve their end goals.

ASD Level 1

  • Trouble communicating
  • Inability to read social cues and body language
  • Can speak in complete sentences and communicate but has trouble engaging in back-and-forth conversations
  • Has difficulty making friends
  • Find it challenging to transition between activities and try new things
  • Doesn’t organize or plan things well

ASD Level 2

  • Significant problems with verbal and social communication
  • Difficulty changing their focus and transitioning to new activities
  • Limited interests
  • Engages in repetitive behaviors
  • May speak in simple sentences but has trouble with nonverbal communication

ASD Level 3

  • May exhibit similar behaviors as ASD levels 1 and 2 but at a more extreme level
  • Difficulty expressing themself verbally and nonverbally
  • Trouble interacting socially
  • Find it extremely difficult to change focus and location
  • Displays repetitive behaviors
  • Limited ability to speak clearly
  • Will most likely avoid beginning interactions with others
  • Responding only to direct social approaches

It’s important to understand that your child’s level of autism, when first diagnosed, can change over time as they receive proper autism therapy. And how your child grows and changes during ABA therapy is entirely individualized, which is why their treatment must be curated to their exact needs.

How Diagnosing Autism Works

Early intervention is best when it comes to helping children with autism. That’s why watching your child’s development from a young age is essential. You can use the listed developmental milestones on this page to understand where your child may be showing signs of autism.

However, to receive an official autism diagnosis, you must collaborate with professionals like your child’s pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that all children would receive an ASD screening during their 18-month and two-year-old checkups. But you can most certainly request one earlier if you notice autism signs in your child.

If your child has parents or siblings with autism, they may be at higher risk for ASD. Your child’s doctor must understand their risk level so they can perform the proper developmental screenings.

To receive an autism diagnosis, your child must present the following persistent social communication and interaction challenges:

  • abnormal social interactions
  • trouble understanding non-verbal communication and communicating through nonverbal cues
  • inability to develop and maintain relationships with others

Your child must also show at least two of the following types of behaviors according to the DSM-5:

  • fixating on particular interests with overwhelming intensity
  • having to stick to rigorous routines, otherwise getting upset
  • being extremely sensitive to sensory stimuli like smells, tastes, and sounds
  • demonstrating repetitive speech or movements

When to Seek Medical Advice if Your Child Displays Autism Signs

Unfortunately, diagnosing autism can be challenging. But if you recognize common signs of autism in your child, communicating with your child’s doctor to set up appropriate screening methods is your next step.

Some parents may think they’re “too late” for their child to benefit from an autism diagnosis and ABA therapy. But that’s not true. Anytime you’re ready to set your child up for a lifetime of success is never too late.

You know your child best. If you notice signs your child has autism, contact their doctor as soon as possible.

And remember: your child is not broken. There is nothing “wrong” with them. They just need a little more love, patience, affection, connection, and guidance. And together with you, we can do that.