Autism signs and symptoms

Children with autism and other autism spectrum disorders typically display a range of identifiable symptoms. By being aware of these signs, parents can help spot the disorder at an earlier age, which greatly improves a child’s overall prognosis. Click on a category to learn more about the symptoms to watch for.



— Delay in, or total lack of, development of spoken language
— Difficulty initiating conversation
— Echolalia (repeating words or phrases instead of using normal language)
— Doesn’t respond to name
— Doesn’t use or respond to gestures and other nonverbal cues



Social interaction
— Doesn’t point to objects or show them to others
— Doesn’t make eye contact at appropriate times
— Doesn’t look at other people’s faces as much
— Doesn’t respond to facial expressions or body language
— Doesn’t smile back at others
— Lack of peer relationships appropriate to age level
— Less interest in other children
— Not motivated by praise or physical affection
— Doesn’t clearly demonstrate sympathy or empathy




— Engages in highly repetitive play
— Obsessively preoccupied with a specific interest or object
— Lack of make-believe or imitative play
— Dependent on routines, rituals and familiarity
— Repetitive body movements (hand or finger flapping, eye rolling, twisting, spinning, rocking, etc.)
— Preoccupation with parts of objects
— Easily overstimulated by noises, crowds or lights
— Extreme dislike of certain sounds, textures or situations
— Doesn’t have strong response to pain

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