Autism Resources

Early Signs of Autism

Therapy room at Lighthouse Autism Center with toys on a table with blue chairs and book shelves above

Early Autism Characteristics

Children with autism often show signs in infancy but may not be diagnosed until much later. Early signs of autism in babies or toddlers often go unrecognized, simply because parents or caregivers may not know what to look for. One of the most important things you can do for your child after birth is to learn the early signs of autism. Recognizing the initial signs of autism can lead to an earlier diagnosis which is needed for early autism intervention. Research suggests that early intervention leads to the best outcomes for children with autism and gives them them the tools to lead a more independent life.

Know the Signs

Early Signs of Autism

Having a child tested for autism spectrum disorder is only something that a qualified professional will be able to do. However, knowing the signs of autism can help you decide whether or not to seek further evaluation for your child. The easiest way to be able to determine if a child should have further evaluation for autism spectrum disorder is to know the signs. Getting an early diagnosis of ASD is key for proper treatment and early intervention. With that in mind, what are the characteristics of autism?

Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder

The core signs of autism in children are social communication challenges and repetitive or restrictive behaviors. While young children may display these characteristics on occasion, a child with autism will consistently display these characteristics, and they may interfere with his or her daily life. Health care professionals make an autism diagnosis by assessing behaviors associated with social communication challenges and repetitive or restrictive behaviors.

  • Little or no eye contact
  • Resists being comforted, held, or touched
  • Lacks an understanding of personal space (e.g., gets too close when speaking)
  • Responds to social interactions, but does not initiate them
  • Does not generally share observations or experiences with others
  • Difficulty understanding jokes, figures of speech or sarcasm
  • Difficulty reading facial expressions and body language
  • Difficulty understanding the rules of conversation (e.g., makes spontaneous comments, disconnected remarks, or interrupts)
  • Difficulty understanding group interactions
  • Aversion to answering questions about themselves
  • Makes honest, but inappropriate, observations
  • Seems unable to understand another’s feelings
  • Prefers to be alone or aloft, or is overly friendly
  • Difficulty making friends or maintaining friendships
  • Finds it easier to socialize with people who are older or younger, rather than peers of their age
  • Disengaged with surrounding activity or people
  • Talks excessively about one or two topics (e.g., dinosaurs, movies, etc.)
  • Overly trusting or unable to read motives or intentions

Request an Evaluation

We are here to help. If you suspect your child may have autism, don’t wait. Work with us to start the referral process now.

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