Suspecting your child might have autism can be scary for parents. If you haven’t had much experience with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it can be difficult to pick up on some early signs of autism. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful list of common symptoms of autism that children with ASD may display before they’re of school age.
Before you panic too much, do remember that every ASD diagnosis is unique, so your child might not display many of these symptoms of autism. Also, remember that early diagnosis and intervention can go a long way in ensuring your child grows up happy and healthy.
Here are some early signs of autism that children with ASD display. As ASD has a lot to do with communication and interacting with others, we’ve broken these signs into communication and behavioural signs, as well as how your child interacts with others.
If your child displays some of these early signs of autism, be sure to book an appointment with your GP.
- Children with ASD may have delayed speech development, not speak much before two years of age, or not speak at all
- They may frequently repeat set words and phrases
- They may not use tone in their speech, or speak in a monotone
- They prefer to speak using single words instead of full sentences.
- They may not use gestures or facial expressions when communicating
- They may avoid eye contact
- They may engage in repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, rocking back and forth or flicking their fingers
- They prefer a familiar routine and get very upset with any sporadic activities
- They may have a strong like or dislike of certain foods, which could be based on the texture or colour of the food
- They may display usual sensory interests. For example, they may sniff toys, objects or people inappropriately
Interacting with others
- They may not be aware of other people’s personal space, or being unusually intolerant of people entering their own personal space
- They may have little interest in interacting with other people
- They prefer to play by themselves
- They may not enjoy situations or activities that most children of their age like, such as going to birthday parties
- They might not respond to their name being called, even when they heard they were being called
- They may often reject cuddles that are initiated by a parent or carer, even if they initiate cuddles themselves
- They may react negatively when asked to do something
While your child may display many of these early signs of autism, many of them may not be relevant at all. That’s why it’s important to get a professional medical opinion and proper diagnosis.