Regardless of whether your son or daughter is your first child or you have other children, it’s understandable to be concerned if he or she doesn’t seem to be meeting common developmental milestones in the same way as peers.
You might even be wondering: Does my child have autism?
If this is a question you’re asking yourself consider these common signs of autism, shared by Kids First team below.
Children who have autism often have problems with age-appropriate socialization. If your child has autism, even as a baby or toddler, he or she may display social communication problems, including:
Lack of eye contact
Does not like to be cuddled, even by close family
As a baby, does not pay attention to faces
Frightened by unfamiliar faces
Does not smile or respond to other people’s emotions
As a toddler, has little or no interest in make-believe play, such as caring for a doll or making truck sounds when playing with a play truck
Lack of interest in playing with other children, preferring to play alone
The child seems to be in their own world
Does not respond to their own name
As a child with autism starts school and progresses into the teenage years, many of these same social signs will continue, but they may be accompanied by things such as:
Problems with conversations, including dominating conversations and not understanding how to take turns
Especially in girls, rather than avoiding the make-believe world, the child may be strongly imaginative, escaping to nature or fiction to avoid facing the real world
Being strict about following rules in school and sports
Needing to follow a routine, and sometimes having a meltdown if their routine is disrupted
Unusual anxiety when in crowded public places
Children with autism often display behaviours that could be considered unusual. Some of those behaviours include:
As a baby or small child, excessive crying or, on the other extreme, a lack of crying
Repetitive actions, such as hand flapping, spinning around in circles, pacing, or prolonged rocking
Unusual sensitivity to loud noises, strong smells, taste, or certain textures (such as socks or clothing tags)
Reduced reactions to sensory input, including low pain sensitivity or little reaction to sounds
Obsession or fixation on a certain object or subject, with little to no interest in anything else
Unusual play, such as lining up or spinning toys
Communication, including speech and language skills, is another area where many children with autism struggle. If your child is dsiplaying signs of autism, you may have noticed problems like:
Delayed speech, this includes not saying single words, babbling, or imitating the sounds made by others by about a year old as well as not having four-five word sentences by about three years old
Loss of language skills, including a child who once talked suddenly appearing to have no language skills
Lack of non-verbal communication, this includes not pointing to objects, nodding their head, and understanding the non-verbal social cues of peers
Some children with autism also display problems with certain motor skills. Some motor skills signs that your child may have autism include:
Being unable to crawl or stand with assistance by about a year old
Cannot walk alone by 18 months or walks only on his or her toes
Unable to climb, kick a ball, or navigate stairs without help by the age of three
When to seek advice
These are just some of the signs of autism. Even if your child is displaying some of these signs, that does not necessarily mean your child has autism.
An evaluation by an expert will be needed to determine the cause of these developmental delays or behaviours.
If you think your child may have autism, contact us. We can help you get a proper diagnosis as well as provide early intervention services, increasing your child’s chances of success.