Autism Symptoms – Communications

For children with autism, communicating with others can be quite a challenge. Verbal and nonverbal communication skills can be impaired, making everyday interaction a difficult task for the child, his peers, and family.  Facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and eye contact can all be affected by autism.

Autism can present itself early on in a child’s life.  Around 18 months, parents may notice that their child doesn’t make eye contact, or enjoy interactive social games (peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake).  A young child with autism may not babble or point to objects, which are milestones that most children reach by their first birthday.  The child may not smile or try to imitate sounds, leading to a delay in his speech development.

As time progresses, a child with autism may have difficulty initiating and sustaining a conversation.  He may speak in an unusual rhythm or tone (sing-song or robot-like), and refer to himself by name instead of “I” or “me.”  He may have a great deal of difficulty understanding the usual back and forth pattern of conversation (turn-taking), and can often be preoccupied with a particular subject matter.  When asked a question, he may repeat what is being asked instead of answering.

Understanding social cues like tone of voice and facial expressions is problematic for children with autism.  While you may feel like you’re being pleasant and welcoming, your child may not be able to interpret that feeling.  He may react the same whether your tone is harsh or pleasant.

Children with autism can display their symptoms at varying times.  While some children are speech delayed from early on, others can appear to be developing typically before reaching a plateau.

A child who displays these characteristics does not necessarily have autism.  It takes a team of psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and therapists to accurately diagnose a child.

Entry Filed under: Common Symptoms

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