Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

The word AUTISM to a family may seem very scary, but the reality is that if your child is ever diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder there is a world of resources, therapies, and specialists to help you treat issues that are caused by Autism Spectrum Disorder otherwise known as "ASD".

Many children are diagnosed before the age of three, however,in some cases families have received this diagnosis for their older children and adults.  Monitoring developmental milestones of babies and toddlers, along with trusting your instincts as a parent can help you recognize any possible issues early. At anytime if you  feel like your child may exhibit one or more signs and symptoms of Autism you should consult a doctor and developmental pediatrician immediately. Research has shown that the earlier a child is  diagnosed the more receptive they are to various treatments. Signs and symptoms of "ASD" will vary from child to child, however, there are also red flags that parents or teachers may notice right away.

Red Flags are signs that all parents should keep an eye open for during their child's development:

Age 0-2

Your baby or toddler doesn't:
  1. Make eye contact, such as looking at you when being fed or smiling when being smiled at
  2. Respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
  3. Follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out
  4. Point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate
  5. Make noises to get your attention
  6. Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
  7. Imitate your movements and facial expressions
  8. Play with other people or share interest and enjoyment
  9. Notice or care if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort
The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician:
By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions
By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
By 12 months: Lack of response to name
By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk”
By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving
By 16 months: No spoken words
By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating

Signs and Symptoms in older children

Social Difficulties

Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.


Speech and Language Difficulties

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.


Non-Verbal Communication Difficulties

 Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble picking up on subtle nonverbal cues and using body language. This makes the "give-and-take" of social interaction very difficult.



Children with autism spectrum disorder are often restricted, inflexible, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. Repetitive behaviors can include:

  • Hand flapping

  • Tapping ears

  • Rocking back and forth

  • Scratching

  • Spinning in a circle

  • Lining up toys

  • Finger flicking

  • Spinning objects

  • Head banging

  • Wheel spinning

  • Staring at lights

  • Watching moving objects

  • Moving fingers in front of the eyes

  • Flicking light switches on and off

  • Snapping fingers

  • Repeating words or noises


Information for this page was sourced from