Common Symptoms and Signs of Autism

What is Autism?

It is also known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability that includes problems with behavior and communication. Autism may involve a wide range of skills and symptoms. It may be a minor disability or situation which requires full-time care in a particular facility. Individuals with have difficulties in social interaction or communication and repetitive or restricted behavior with autism. They also need help learning or understanding what other people feel and think. Thus, it makes it difficult for them to express themselves with signs or words, touch, and facial expressions.

Autism may occur at the age of 3 years and may last the whole life of a person, but symptoms can improve over time. Some children may suffer from the symptoms of autism in the first 12 months of life. Due to autism, an Individual can suffer from maintaining or developing communication and friendships with people. They also suffer from several other health conditions, such as depression, tension, anxiety, or hyperactivity disorder, that may occur more in individuals with autism than individuals without autism.

Symptoms and Signs of Autism

The signs of autism in children in early infancy include a lack of response to their names or indifference to caregivers, reduced eye contact, and many more. Several kids can generally develop for the first few months or years of life but unexpectedly become aggressive or lose language skills that they have already required in the past. Mainly the symptoms and signs of autism generally occur at the age of 2 years. Each kid with autism is expected to have a unique severity and behavior pattern between low-functioning and high functioning. Many children with autism have a problem or difficulty in learning, and some have symptoms of lower-than-normal intelligence. The symptoms and signs of autism in children are based on the level of impairments.

There are several common symptoms and signs of autism are discussed below –

Repetitive or Restricted Interests or Behaviors

Individuals can suffer from limited repetitive patterns of behavior, activities, or interest, and many more. Several signs of this difficulty are given below –

  • They perform several activities which could cause self-harm, such as head-banging or biting.

  • They repeat phrases or words over and over is known as echolalia.

  • They were unusual behaviors with smell, taste, feel, or sound.

  • They have problems with coordination or odd movement patterns that includes walking or clumsiness on toes, exaggerated body language, and many more.

  • They have specific food preferences, including taking a few foods or refusing foods with a special touch.

  • They develop particular rituals or routines that become disturbed at the slightest change.

  • They are fascinated by the details of an object, including the spinning wheels of a toy car but need help understanding its general aim or function.

  • They get upset by minor changes.

  • They are susceptible to sound, touch or light.

Social Communication and Interaction Skills

Social communication and interaction skills may be challenging for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. There are some signs of this problem given below –

  • They resist holding and cuddling and prefer to play alone and retreat into their world.

  • They speak with an abnormal rhythm or tone, which can use a robot-like speech and a singsong voice.

  • They repeat phrases or words verbatim but need help understanding how to use them.

  • They do not express feelings or emotions and seem unaware of other individuals’ feelings.

  • They need to respond to their name or appear not to hear several times.

  • They need help understanding simple directions or questions.

Recurring Sleep Problems

As per Autism Speaks, about 80 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder have a comorbid chronic sleep disorder. Still, individuals with autism are double as likely to experience regular insomnia. Generally, children with autism will struggle with staying and falling asleep for the recommended 8 hours every night. It is important to note that insufficient sleep that may make other autism spectrum disorder symptoms worse. Sleep-deprived individuals with autism spectrum disorder show more learning delays and repetitive behaviors.

Attachment to Unusual Interests

It is one of the easiest symptoms in children and adults to detect an intense interest in unusual topics or objects. It is also one of the main signs of autism in adults. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders spend endless energy practicing hobbies, drawing, or playing video games. Most children and adults with autism spectrum disorders prefer doing these interests independently.

The Trouble with Transitions

Normally, individuals with autism spectrum disorder have a set of routines that they must follow. They have an order of completing daily tasks with a calming comfort. But small changes in the schedule or routine may cause distress in children or individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. There are many significant life transitions, including starting school or graduating college, that may challenge for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. Teachers must use in the autism spectrum disorder classroom are reminders, social stories, timers, and visuals. Children with autism use these for communicating transitions and changes to the regular schedule for the whole day. Social stories and storyboards may easily be made online via a specific autism spectrum disorder educational site. The symptoms and signs of autism in adults may be managed differently. If Individuals with autism are at the office or workplace, they can require time management assistance. A person with autism spectrum disorder who needs help at the office or workplace could benefit from having their whole day broken up into predictable chunks.

A Problem in Social Situations

It is one of the main symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Adults and children with autism may suffer pain from the social environment or social awareness. There are some signs of this problem given below –

  • Difficulty in social response and initiation

  • Difficulty in social situations or awareness

  • Trouble in non-verbal communication, including eye-contact

Individuals with autism tend to have several problems or difficulties relating to others if in a social environment.


If any person in your family, then you may know about the symptoms and signs of autism spectrum disorders in children and adults. You should read carefully about the symptoms and signs of autism if any close relative has autism.

Updated on: 06-Feb-2023


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