Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability, often first diagnosed in early childhood, that affects how an autistic person behaves and communicates.
Little Social Interaction
If you're autistic, you might not interact with others very much. This could mean that you don't enjoy being around people, or that you have trouble understanding social cues. You might not make eye contact, or you might not talk to others very often. If you do interact with others, you might seem awkward or uninterested in the conversation.
Difficulty With Eye Contact
It is not unusual for people with autism to have difficulty making eye contact. This can be because they are not used to looking people in the eye, or because they find it difficult to hold someone's gaze.
If you notice that someone with autism avoids eye contact, or only makes brief eye contact, this could be a sign that they have autism.
Another possibility is that the person with autism is overwhelmed by too much visual information and so finds it difficult to focus on one thing, including making eye contact.
If your child is not meeting language milestones, it could be a sign of autism. Most children begin babbling by 6 months old and saying single words by 12 to 18 months old. If your child isn’t doing either of these things, it’s worth mentioning to your pediatrician.
Other red flags for language delay include:
Not responding when you say their name
Not making eye contact when you talk to them
Not pointing or gesturing by 12 months old
Not using at least two words by 24 months old
Loss of language skills at any age
If you or your child is having difficulty with speech, it could be a sign of autism. This can manifest in a few different ways. Your child may not start speaking until later than other kids their age, or they may speak in a flat, monotone voice. They may also have trouble making eye contact when speaking, and they may not respond to their name being called. If you're concerned about your child's speech development, it's important to talk to your doctor.
Lack Of Playfulness and Interest in Toys
When it comes to playing with toys, children with autism often lack interest and imagination. Instead of using toys to engage in pretend play, they may line them up or spin them obsessively. They may also become fixated on a single toy or object and become extremely upset if it's moved or taken away.
Odd, Repetitive Behaviors
Some autistic people may display repetitive behaviors, which can be both odd and annoying to others. These behaviors may include body rocking, spinning in circles, arm flapping, or even repeating the same phrases over and over. While these behaviors may seem strange to those who don't understand autism, they can actually be quite calming and soothing for the individual with autism.
Lack of Emotional Expressions
If you have trouble reading other people's emotions, you may be on the autism spectrum. This can make it difficult to know how to respond to someone who is angry, sad, or happy. You may also have difficulty understanding jokes or sarcasm.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not someone has autism, but there are some common signs that may indicate it. If you're concerned that you or your child might be on the autism spectrum, talk to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you get an accurate diagnosis and find the resources and support you need.