It can be quite difficult to pinpoint the signs symptoms of autism.

This is because autism is a spectrum disorder and children with it, can be anywhere within the spectrum from mild aspergers syndrome to severe autism at the other end. It is also possible for children to move up and down the spectrum dependant on age, circumstances and stress levels etc.

The other difficulty with listing symptoms is that each person with autism is unique. This makes some of the symptoms that are listed on the internet quite generalized and not always true for each child.

One of the most important things to bear in mind is that you are your child's parent or carer, and you know your child better than anybody else. If you are worried don't be fobbed off. One of the most important points with autism is early intervention, to help your child develop to their full potential.

Autism signs can really be split into four categories:


  • Your child may appear to be deaf. Your child may not not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 1 year of age Your child may not speak one word by 16 months Your child may not combine two words by 2 years Your child may not respond to name Your child may lose their language or social skills

    On the other hand you may notice these autism signs:
  •  Speaks but repeats words from films or people over and over (it's called echolalia)
  • May speak only about their favorite interest i.e trains, to anybody.
  • Your child speaks well but sometimes sounds like a little professor.
  • Your child talks but sounds a bit like a robot ie, their speech always sound the same a bit like a drone with no intonation.

    You may notice that your child does not respond quickly when you ask a question (may be because of processing information time)
  • Your child may appear confused when you have asked a fairly simple thing
  • You may notice that your child struggles with following directions (they may only be able to do one instruction of the three you gave)
  • Your child may be able to give a very detailed description of a room, but little information about the people in it.
  • You may find that it may appear as though your child has understood something but ask deeper questions and it's clear they haven't
  • Your child may not understand jokes Your child may take what you say literally i.e, if you say it's raining cats and dogs, or we are going swimming in the car, or christmas is just around the corner
  • You may find that it may appear as though your child has understood something but ask deeper questions and it's clear they haven't


  • Your little one may not like playing peek-a-boo Your child may be more interested in looking at things rather faces.
  • Your child may appear to be in their own world avoiding interaction.
  • Your child may have difficulty playing with other children (for children up to three this is fairly normal)
  • Your child may not make any attempts to get your attention

    There may be no or little eye contact, or an overly staring at people. There may be inappropriate laughing or giggling.
  • Your child may not point or bring things to show you.
  • Your child may not follow or look up when someone is pointing at something

    Your child may prefer to be alone
  • Your child may avoid other children or adults
  • Your child may find it difficult to talk to other children and adults.
  • Your child may be very controlling of others
  • Your child may struggle with turn taking and sharing, even at the ages of 7 and older.

    Your child may touch others inappropriately ie, smacking another child on the bottom (it is not a sexual activity)
  • They may respond badly if a child or adult touches them, on the head, if they are in a line and somebody brushes against them.
  • Your child may not understand the rules of games.
  • Your child may hate it if they see other children break the rules(this can also be with their perceived rules) and tell on them.
  • Your child may not understand if other children do not do things they have said they will do.

For more information on autism signs including sensory issues and inflexibility of thought go to signs and symptoms of autism here.

Leave autism signs return to kids with autism page

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