Signs & Symptoms

ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.

A person with an ASD might:

- Not respond to their name by 12 months

- Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months

- Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months

- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone

- Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings

- Have delayed speech and language skills

- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)

- Give unrelated answers to questions

- Get upset by minor changes

- Have obsessive interests

- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles

- Have unusual or sometime fierce reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

- Persistent fixation on parts of objects (spin the wheels on a toy car constantly)

- Lack of interest in peer relationships

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