What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can range in a spectrum. It can be very mild to very severe, and the timing and severity of first symptoms can vary widely. Autism is characterized by:
- cognitive impairments
- difficulty in communication
- forming relationships
- repetitive behaviors
- social impairments
Identifying signs can vary depending on age, but the most obvious signs tend to appear between the age of 2-3 years.
Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers:
- By 6 months
- lack of social smiles or other joyful expressions directed at people
- limited or no eye contact
- By 9 months, no sharing of vocal sounds, smiles or other nonverbal communication
- By 12 months:
- no babbling
- no use of gestures to communicate (e.g. pointing, reaching, waving etc.)
- no response to name when called
- By 16 months, no words
- By 24 months, no meaningful, two-word phrases
- Any loss of any previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
Possible signs of autism at any age:
- Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
- Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
- Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
- Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
- Has highly restricted interests
- Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping, rocking or spinning
- Has unusual and often intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
If you have additional questions or concerns about an autism evaluation, contact Psychology 360 today.
PLEASE NOTE: This screening measure has been adapted from Autism Speaks Inc. Please visit autismspeaks.org for additional information and resources.