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Autism Symptoms and Signs

People with Autism Spectrum Disorders may have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities.

Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Autism Spectrum Disorders begin during early childhood and last throughout a person’s life.

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Autism Symtoms & Characteristics: Social Skills

A child with autism often has great difficulty with social interaction. Parents may be the first to notice that their child seems indifferent to interacting with them. For many children with autism, the social world seems confusing and unpredictable.

Children with autism don’t just experience difficulties in social situations, but struggles in everyday life. Most children with autism don’t understand normal social cues. Facial expressions and tone of voice are problematic to interpret and display. And while not universal, regulating their emotions can often be challenging. They may show signs of distress for no apparent reason. Crying, verbal outbursts, and physical harm to themselves and others are probable.

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Diagnosing Autism: How a Diagnosis of Autism is Determined

Autism has a wide variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be misdiagnosed. Classic autism has a core of symptoms that include:

-Impaired ability to engage socially
-Impaired ability to initiate or maintain a conversation
-Inability to play appropriately or use imagination
-Stereotyped, unusual, repetitive use of language or behavior (flapping, spinning)
-Abnormal or intense focus on certain subjects or objects
-Inflexible adherence to certain routines and rituals

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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.

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Autism Behavior Checklist

There are several behavioral signs of autism that parents may observe while spending time with their child. It is important to remember that each child is different; therefore, may exhibit one, some or all of the behaviors described.

Behaviors can be self-stimulating (i.e. flapping, spinning, etc.) or simply part of a daily routine (i.e. getting dressed must occur in the same sequence every day). The child may engage in these behaviors because he finds them intriguing or simply because that is the only way he knows to react to a situation.

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