Autism symptoms can vary among those who have the condition. Not everyone that has autism will suffer from the same symptoms or the same severity. There are however a few symptoms that seem to be considered “core symptoms” which means that almost every person with Autism has them to some extent.
Some of the core symptoms will include problems with interacting and having relationships with others, trouble with verbal and nonverbal communication and limited interest in play or activities. Having problems in social situations and relationships is very common. People with autism tend to avoid eye contact. They do not make facial expressions to show emotion and their body language usually remains the same. Children with autism do not show interest in interacting with other children and do not know how to play. They show no desire or interest in activities. They do not get excited or share in the joy of others achievements. They also do not show empathy for others. They cannot relate to another person’s sorrow or pain.
In about 40% of autistic people, speech is never learned. For others the speech is delayed and hard to understand. They lose interest in conversation or often repeat words that are being said to them instead of engaging in conversation. It is also common for one to use the same words over and over. Autistic people also have a hard time understanding emotion used behind language. If someone is joking or using humor or laughing, an autistic person may be confused and not understand the conversation.
Autistic people often find certain objects or activities interesting. An obsession can form around particular items or interests. As children this can be noticed as an obsession with parts of a toy rather than using the toy as it normally would be played with. Collecting items can become a favorite pass time with an autistic person thinking or talking about the items often. Routines become crucial for people with autism. They expect things to go the same way every day. Rituals can become habit forming and tough to break. Without the rituals, one may become upset or confused. Autistic people can also participate in soothing techniques to comfort themselves during times of stress. This can include rocking, spinning, hand flapping or other repetitive behaviors.
Autism can be noticed by parents at a very early age. Behaviors can lead one to believe the child is suffering from some sort of mental or physical handicap but leave parents baffled as to what the diagnosis really is. A lot of babies can show signs of the disorder although it is not until the child reaches the toddler years or preschool that the diagnosis is actually made. A symptom of autism in children can include the child not enjoying the closeness of his parents. Often those with autism to not enjoy physical contact and a small child that does not like to be held, hugged or cuddled by his or her parents may have a form of autism. The child may also avoid eye contact with the parents, avoid playing games and not play with other children. Lack of speech development or learning to speak then suddenly stopping is another sign of children with autism.
Once autism is suspected or a parent sees any of these signs in their child, the child should be evaluated by a pediatrician as soon as possible. With early intervention and the beginning of treatment and therapy, a child can improve their social skills greatly. By starting the therapy early, a child with autism can grow up with much better chances of becoming a successful and integrated part of society.