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Signs of Autism

By Rachel Evans

From a number of emails I’ve received quite a few people are looking for advice and guidance on whether or someone they know or a loved one has autism, so I thought I’d put together a list of the most common signs and traits of autistic people. Autism is not easy to diagnose as it is a spectrum disorder, and so can have many degrees of severity.
In young children the following signs should lead you to consider further evaluation:

- Failure to coo or babble by or before one year old.
- Inability to speak single words by 16 months.
- Inability to communicate nonverbally, such as pointing at objects or waving, by age one.
- Inability to independently speak two-word phrases by age 2 (i.e., the child does not combine words without copying words spoken to him/her).
- Loses any communication or social skills at any age.

The above are general symtoms of autism, but should not be considered as a definative list.

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More specific signs to look out for in children to help you better identify potential autistic behaviours are listed below:

- Failure to respond when his/her name is called.
- Inability to communicate his/her needs or wants verbally.
- Delays in verbal communication skills and repeating words or phrases instead of          normal speech.
- Failure to follow directions.
- Occasionally appears to be deaf even though hearing test results are normal.
- Doesn’t point at objects of interest.
- Doesn’t wave good-bye or hello.
- Stops speaking.
- Unusually forceful tantrums and unusual emotional responses.
- Strange patterns of movement.
- Hyperactive, obstinate, or defiant. Can display overly aggressive behavior or  tendencies to self-harm.
- Appears not to know how to play with toys.
- Fails to smile when smiled at.
- Doesn’t make or maintain appropriate eye contact.
- Performs repetitive motions or routines. Wants to have the same daily routine and  dislikes change.
- Prefers playing alone.
- Thinks only to get things for him/herself and not others.
- Exhibits more independence than is normal for his/her age.
- Early performance of activities.
- Ignoring or tuning out people. May not like to be hugged or have physical contact.
- Shows no interest in peers and may be scared of crowds.
- Tiptoe walking.
- Will only eat certain foods and have many food allergies.
- General ongoing digestion problems.
- Unusual sensitivity to normal noises, smells and an over or underdeveloped sensitivity  to pain.
- Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.

Although it is unlikely that an autistic person would display all of the above signs, this list covers the common signs of autism.

If someone is displaying 8 or more symptoms from the list you should consider consulting a medical professional.

I hope that this helps those of you who wanted a greater understanding of the signs and symptoms of Autism.

Author - Rachel Evans.