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Most common signs of autism in children

Whilst many children with autism will experience similar difficulties, as autism is a spectrum disorder these difficulties may show to varying degrees.

Common indicators that your child might sit on the autistic spectrum include:

1) Difficulty with flexibility in thoughts and behaviour

  • Repetition of acts, for instance lining objects up or playing a game in the same way over and over again
  • Hyper or hypo-sensitivity towards sight, sound, smell, touch or taste. Wearing certain fabrics, background noise or different textures of food can all be incredibly challenging for some people with autism.
  • Finding change or new situations difficult
  • Repetitive motions such as rocking, spinning or hand waving can help stimulate sensation and deal with stress

2) Difficulty in relating to the world and others

  • Lack of awareness of other’s personal space
  • Showing little interest in playing with others
  • Lack of empathy in understanding other’s emotions
  • Being detached in group settings

3) Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication

  • Difficulty interpreting body language, tone of voice or figures of speech
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Delay in speech / lack of speech
  • Lack of or reluctance in eye contact
  • Abnormal tone of voice when speaking
  • Clumsiness or eccentric ways of moving – for instance walking exclusively on tiptoe

What age does autism show?

Diagnosing autism in children does not tend to take place before the age of 2 as up until this point children develop and regress in terms of language and social skills.

In a few children under the age of 18 months the signs can be quite clear – for instance not maintaining eye contact, repetitive play and choosing to play on their own.

A parent’s instinct is very strong at picking up when things don’t seem quite right so we would always urge you to seek help if you are at all worried. Your child may be presenting you with behaviour which you do not know how to address, they may be unable to follow basic instructions, or understand the intentions of others.

Early intervention can really help put in place any adjustments that can help your child and you support their needs. The earlier you address your child’s difficulties the better able they will be to cope and achieve in life by providing for their best interests.

If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of autism then you can speak to one of our qualified clinical advisors who can discuss whether an autism assessment might be helpful, free of charge. Please call 020 3761 7026 to speak to someone today.

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