Examples of How Autism May Present

•Doesn’t keep eye contact or makes very little eye contact
•Doesn’t look at objects or events a parent is looking at or pointing to or doesn’t point to objects or events to get a parent to look at them
•Doesn’t often have appropriate facial expressions or unable to perceive what others might be thinking or feeling by looking at their facial expressions
•Has trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about own feelings; doesn’t show concern (empathy) for others, unable to make friends or is uninterested in making friends •
Does not play games with turn taking, because turn taking involves communication. The child may not communicate or continue a conversation. •

•Lines up toys or other objects and get upset when order is changed and doesn’t use toys or other objects to represent people or real life in pretend play
•Repeats words or phrases over and over (i.e., echolalia) or repeats exactly what others say without understanding the meaning (often called parroting or echoing)
•Plays with parts of toys instead of the whole toy (e.g., spinning the wheels of a toy truck)
•Rocks, spins, sways, twirls fingers, walks on toes for a long time, or flaps hands (called “stereotypic behavior”)
•Likes routines, order, and rituals; has difficulty with change or transition from one activity to another, or obsessed with a few or unusual activities, doing them repeatedly during the day

•Hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior – May be very sensitive or not sensitive at all to smells, sounds, lights, textures, and touch or have unusual use of vision or gaze—looks at objects from unusual angles
•Delayed language skills – May lose language or other social milestones, usually between the ages of 15 and 24 months (often called regression), may refer to self as “you” and others as “I,” and may mix up pronouns, often doesn’t seem to want to communicate, doesn’t start or can’t continue a conversation, may have a good rote memory, especially for numbers, letters, songs, TV jingles, or a specific topic
•Delayed movement skills – May seem clumsy •Unusual mood or emotional reactions – Doesn’t seem to feel pain
•Unusual eating and sleeping habits – Can be picky eaters or have a hard time going to sleep or remaining asleep

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