What are some of the signs of ASD? ...continued

People with ASDs may have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASDs also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. ASDs begin during early childhood and last throughout a person’s life.
A child or adult with an ASD might:

•        not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll)
•        not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over)
•        not look at objects when another person points at them
•        have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
•        avoid eye contact and want to be alone.
•        have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
•        prefer not to be held or cuddled or might cuddle only when they want to
•        appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds
•        be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
•        repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language (echolalia)
•        have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
•        repeat actions over and over again
•        have trouble adapting when a routine changes
•        have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
•        lose skills they once had (for instance, stop saying words they were using) CDC Autism Fact Sheet
•        Not speak as well as his or her peers?
•        Not respond selectively to his or her name?
•        Act as if he or she is in his or her own world?
•        Seem to “tune others out?”
•        Not have a social smile?
•        Seem unable to tell you what he or she wants, preferring to lead you by the hand or get desired objects on his or her own, even at risk of danger?
•        Have difficulty following simple commands?
•        Not bring things to you simply to “show” you?
•        Not point to interesting objects to direct your attention to objects or events of interest?
•        Have unusually long and severe temper tantrums?
•        Show an unusual attachment to inanimate objects, especially hard ones (e.g., flashlight or a chain vs. teddy bear or blanket)?
•        Prefer to play alone?
•        Demonstrate an inability to play with toys in the typical way?
•        Not engage in pretend play (if older than age 2)?
American Academy of Pediatrics

How can you tell if someone you know has autism? Are there specific signs or symptoms?

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve done just that -- you’ve met one person with autism. Autism manifests itself differently for every individual, varying in the severity and type of symptoms. While there are strong and consistent commonalities, there is no single behavior that is always typical of autism and no behavior that would automatically exclude an individual from receiving a diagnosis.

That said, generally speaking, children and adults with autism may ...

Interact with others differently. They may appear to live a life of isolation or have difficulty understanding and expressing emotions or convey personal attachments in a different manner.

Not effectively use spoken language. Some have echolalia, a parrot-like repeating of what has been said to them. And, people with autism often have difficulty understanding the nonverbal aspect of language such as social cues, body language and vocal qualities (pitch, tone and volume).

Have difficulty relating to objects and events. They may have a great need for "sameness" that can make them upset if objects in their environment or time schedules change. Children with autism may not "play" with toys in the samemanner as their peers and may become fixated to specific objects.

Overreact to sensory stimuli that they see, hear, touch, feel or taste; or, conversely, not react at all to various stimuli from the environment.

Have a different rate of development especially in the areas of communication, social and cognitive skills. In contrast, motor development may occur at a typical rate. Sometimes skills will appear in children with autism at the expected rate or time and then disappear.
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