Table of contents:
- Key symptoms of autism
- Online Symptom Test
- Is it Autism?
- What to do in case of suspicion
- Autism symptoms in babies
- Symptoms of autism in children
- Autism symptoms in adolescents and adults
- How the treatment is done
The signs and symptoms of autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), are very varied and not always easy to notice.
Symptoms are mainly related to difficulty communicating and socializing, however they are also accompanied by unusual behaviors and interests, such as excessive interest in certain subjects or objects, difficulty adapting to changes in routine or abnormal body movements.
Although some of these changes can begin to be found in babies, the diagnosis is often not made until a few years later. In addition, when the severity of symptoms is milder, they may only be identified in adolescence or adulthood.See more symptoms, causes and treatment of autism.
Key symptoms of autism
The most common symptoms of autism are:
1. Poor eye contact
People with autism spectrum disorder tend to have less eye contact when interacting with others.
2. Difficulty expressing ideas and feelings
Autism may have difficulty using and understanding body language, gestures and facial expressions. Therefore, it is very common for these people to have difficulty sharing their interests and showing feelings or affection, which can be misinterpreted as indifference.
3. Annoyance with routine changes
It is very common for children with autism to throw tantrums, cry a lot or become more aggressive when there are changes in their routine or in the environment in which they live.These changes can be small and are not always clear to caregivers, and may include changing the packaging of their favorite food or taking different routes than they are used to when leaving home.
4. Repetitive Behaviors
These behaviors can include hand flapping, finger snapping, rocking back and forth when sitting, and walking on tiptoe. These behaviors can be seen as “quirks”, are more common in moments of happiness and can also include repeating words or phrases they heard.
5. More interest in objects than people
Children with autism often prefer to play alone and are less interested in being with other children, and may even become irritable or aggressive when participating in group activities. In addition, there may be unusual and excessive interest in certain objects, toys, or parts thereof.
6. Increased sensitivity to sounds, lights, smells or contact
Busy or noisy environments, fireworks, flashing lights, smells, touch or wearing certain clothes, for example, can arouse interest or cause exaggerated reactions, such as crying or irritability.
7. Not responding to own name when called
Children with autism spectrum disorder tend to look less when called by name.
8. Communication difficulties
Communication difficulties can range from delayed speech development to difficulty initiating or participating in conversations, as well as adapting to different environments. Therefore, people with autism often feel uncomfortable interacting with others or act in a way that is considered inappropriate.
Online Symptom Test
If you have doubts about the possibility of autism, you can take our test to find out the risk and what to do:
Is it Autism?
What to do in case of suspicion
In children, in the presence of signs of autism, especially when there is a delay in speech development, difficulties in learning, socializing or developing autonomy, it is important to consult a pediatrician or neuropediatrician.
However, when the symptoms and difficulties of autism are not identified in childhood, they are not always easily noticed in adolescence or beyond. Therefore, in case of suspicion in adolescents, it is recommended to consult a neuropediatrician and in adults, a neurologist.
Autism symptoms in babies
Babies around 6 months of age may have few facial expressions, low eye contact and not smile when interacting with other people.At 9 months, the baby may not respond to caregivers' communications, may not look when called, may not babble sounds like "mama" or "daddy," and may not look where the adult is pointing. In addition, at 12 months the use of gestures or their imitation, such as saying goodbye, clapping or playing kiss, may be absent and the baby has not started the first few words. Learn about other signs and symptoms of autism in babies.
Symptoms of autism in children
In cases of mild autism, symptoms can often go unnoticed because they are less visible. In cases with moderate and severe severity, the symptoms are more intense and children usually have greater difficulty in learning, living with other children and developing autonomy. Check details on how to identify mild autism.
Symptoms of autism in children can include:
1. Difficulty in social interaction
- Do not look into the eyes or avoid looking into the eyes;
- Don't smile when someone smiles at the child, or smile a little;
- Don't let yourself be hugged or kissed;
- Having difficulty making friends;
- Having difficulty getting along with other children, preferring to be alone.
2. Communication difficulty
- Don't talk as much as other children;
- Repeat phrases and words several times;
- Not understanding other people's gestures and facial expressions;
- Not understanding jokes, popular sayings or sarcasm;
- Fail to answer or delay when called;
- Keep a monotone, robot-like tone of voice.
3. Behavioral changes
- Not being afraid of dangerous situations, such as crossing the street without looking at cars, or getting close to dangerous animals, such as large dogs;
- Being very agitated and upset with small changes in routine;
- Being very interested in something very specific, like the wheel of a cart or the wing of an airplane;
- Performing repetitive movements, such as flapping your hands, flicking your fingers, or rocking your body back and forth;
- Being very agitated when in public or in noisy environments.
Furthermore, the signs of autism may be different in girls, who may be quieter and have more difficulty adapting to social situations. In any case, when these symptoms are suspected, it is recommended to consult a pediatrician or neuropediatrician.
Autism symptoms in adolescents and adults
Sometimes, signs and symptoms go unnoticed in childhood and are only identified in adolescents or adulthood, when school responsibilities, work and the need for independence are greater.
The main symptoms and signs of autism in adolescents and adults are:
- Having difficulty making friends, preferring to be alone;
- Avoid eye contact;
- Being more anxious during social interactions;
- Being more rude, sincere, and unintentional with others;
- Show symptoms of depression and anxiety;
- Liking to plan things very carefully and carefully;
- Not being able to understand what people feel;
- Better noticing small details such as smells, sounds or patterns;
- Being very agitated with changing routines and habits;
- Having difficulty understanding jokes, popular sayings or sarcasm;
- Being annoyed if someone gets too close or touches it;
- Being excessively interested in unusual subjects, such as astronomy and meteorology, and very specific activities, such as following several television newspapers and studying all the details of just one subject, for example.
The diagnosis of autism in this age group is often difficult, either because the symptoms can be very mild or because the person ends up developing ways of dealing with their own difficulties, such as avoiding situations that make them feel uncomfortable, for example, which masks symptoms.
How the treatment is done
There is no specific treatment for autism and interventions depend on the severity of symptoms. Guided measures usually help to improve the person's communication, concentration and quality of life and the treatment involves a team of he alth professionals, including doctors, physiotherapists, speech therapists and psychologists according to the needs of each one. Medications are often given to help relieve some symptoms. Check out all treatment options for autism.