Top 10 Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit a variety of autistic symptoms. Although both infants and adults can be affected by autism, the signs usually become apparent by the time a youngster is between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Due to its propensity for developing within the first two years of life, autism is classified as a developmental condition.  However, this does not mean that it cannot be detected at a later date, such as in adolescence or even in adulthood. Autism spectrum disorder first appears in young children.  Because the symptoms of autism can range from moderate to severe, each individual with autism is different and can benefit from a tailored intervention plan for their health, behavior, and communication.

Early intervention plays such a key role in autism recovery, it’s important for parents to learn the signs of autism.


A delay in language development is one of the first symptoms parents of children with autism observe. A number of autistic kids have so-called “nonverbal” autism, in which case they never learn verbal communication abilities.

Parents of nonverbal children may see that their infants are not babbling by the age of six months or that infants who were babbling start to lose that talent as they age.

There are often obvious indications that a child’s verbal language is unusual, even in children who have some verbal language skills.

The practice of children repeating someone else’s words is known as “echolalia,” and it is one of those symptoms. The repetition of words and sounds helps very young children learn them. But if youngsters keep repeating, you say or everything they see on the television as they get older, it can be a sign that something is not quite right with their language development.


According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), signs of autism also include specific behaviors, called restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests:

  • Your child often lines up toys or plays with toys the same way every time.
  • Your child must follow certain routines or have extreme reactions to small changes in routine.
  • Your child has obsessive or very unusual interests.
  • Your child has significant sensory aversions, like dislike of loud noises, dislike of how certain clothes fit or feel or very picky eating.
  • Your child has sensory-seeking behaviors, like looking out of the corner of their eye at objects (peering), sniffing or licking objects.


There are specific “red flags” at each stage of a child’s development that parents, teachers, and doctors should be aware of that may signify an issue. These early signs or “red flags” may appear suddenly or over a period of time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists some early signs that something developmental could be going on: 

  • Can’t work simple toys (such as pegboards, simple puzzles, turning handles)
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences
  • Doesn’t understand simple instructions
  • Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe
  • Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Loses skills he once had


Sensory issues may be difficult to notice because you don’t know what is really going on inside your child’s mind.

If your child covers their ears when it’s noisy, closes their eyes when it’s bright outside, or acts overwhelmed in busy places like malls or family events, you may start to suspect sensory difficulties.

They may listen well at home but have trouble doing so in public. Or perhaps you discover that you’re rearing a child that is a very “fussy” eater and has a problem with certain textures.

These signs are important clues that your child may be experiencing sensory issues, even though they do not guarantee that they are.


Kids on the autism spectrum have a hard time with imaginative play.

You may notice that your child is lining up their toys like cars instead of playing with them or keeping the colors sorted instead of using them.

As they get older, you may notice that they have a hard time using toys in non-traditional ways.

For example, other kids might pretend a banana is a cell phone, but to a kid with autism, a banana is always a banana.


Routines are beneficial for all kids, but for kids with autism, altering a routine can ruin their entire day.

People with autism spectrum disorder usually have a set routine they feel they must follow. Having an order of completing everyday tasks gives people with autism a calming comfort. A stable, self-regulated schedule helps appease an anxious mind.

Their timetables and routines provide them the regularity and control they need to thrive.

When routines alter, they could exhibit signs of anxiety or displeasure.


Despite widespread misconceptions to the contrary, individuals with autism experience emotions just like everyone else. Simply put, they have trouble deciphering and interpreting emotions. 

It may be challenging for someone with autism spectrum disorder to interpret emotions from body language and facial expressions. Raised eyebrows and shrugs are common social signs that people with ASD might not grasp. 

They struggle to pick up on emotions or sarcasm from a person’s verbal tone. It can be difficult to detect rage, fear, disgust, and astonishment. As a result, persons with ASD frequently misinterpret circumstances and respond incorrectly. A person with an autism spectrum condition has trouble expressing their own emotions and feeling empathy for others.


One of the easiest child and adult autism symptoms to detect is an intense interest in unusual objects or topics, almost to the point of obsession. For instance, an autistic individual might love items like:

  • Cars
  • Trains
  • Planets
  • Dinosaurs
  • Pillow
  • Dolphins


Children with ASD have trouble communicating and socializing so withdrawal and isolation are extremely common.

Some people with autism find it difficult to maintain contacts due to a lack of understanding of small talk and other conventions of social behavior. People with autism may prefer to be on their own and enjoy their own company. 


Children on the autism spectrum could not comprehend how eye contact is used to connect and interact with others. It’s possible that they glance at you less directly and more frequently with their peripheral vision.

They might purposefully avoid making eye contact when you ask them to, or they might gaze just a little above or below your eyes, or they might even appear to “look through you.”


These symptoms of autism may also be part of a neurotypical child‘s development. But, if these symptoms keep on repeating and it is no longer developmentally appropriate then it may be a sign to be concerned of. Additionally, not all children with autism have all these symptoms, that is why it is important to consider your child’s development as a whole. 

If you suspect your child may have autism, you should bring your concerns up with your child’s pediatrician and ask for a referral to a specialist. They can help you determine whether your child has autism, different learning or development challenges, or something else. 

Nowadays, there are so many communities in the Philippines that are helping children and adults with autism. One of these is the Facebook group called Autism Society Philippines. You can get support from organizations, parents and other professionals who fully understand your needs.

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