The core symptoms of autism are:
social communication challenges and
restricted, repetitive behaviors.
Symptoms of autism may:
- begin in early childhood (though they may go unrecognized)
- persist and
- interfere with daily living.
Specialized healthcare providers diagnose autism using a checklist of criteriain the two categories above. They also assess autism symptom severity. Autism’s severity scale reflects how much support a person needs for daily function.
Many people with autism have sensory issues. These typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli.
Autism is also associated with high rates of certain physical and mental health conditions.
What are the signs of autism?
The autism diagnosis age and intensity of autism’s early signs vary widely. Some infants show hints in their first months. In others, behaviors become obvious as late as age 2 or 3.
Not all children with autism show all the signs. Many children who don’t have autism show a few. That’s why professional evaluation is crucial.
The following may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, ask your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation right away:
By 6 months
- Few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions
- Limited or no eye contact
By 9 months
- Little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions
By 12 months
- Little or no babbling
- Little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving
- Little or no response to name
By 16 months
- Very few or no words
By 24 months
- Very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating)
At any age
- Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Persistent preference for solitude
- Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
- Delayed language development
- Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
- Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Restricted interests
- Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
- Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
If you have concerns, get your child screened and contact your healthcare provider
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) [3, 196]
- Early Start Denver Model 
- Floortime or DIR 
- Local Early Intervention Providers 
- Medicaid Waiver 
- Neurologists 
- Occupational Therapy [1, 075]
- Physical Therapy 
- Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) 
- Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) 
- Speech & Language Therapy [1, 335]
- State Developmental Disability Agency 
- State Early Intervention Office 
- TEACCH 
- Verbal Behavior