7 Symptoms of Autism That Pediatricians Look for ...


The symptoms of autism aren’t always glaringly obvious, so parents might miss something. That’s why pediatricians have a detailed list of things they look for. Generally, you can expect your child’s doctor to screen for autism by watching him and asking you questions about his development. Anytime a red flag is raised, your child’s doctor can take swift action to test and screen for autism. Many parents worry about this condition, so being educated about it is the best way to be alert for symptoms of autism.

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Lack of Nonverbal Communication

One of the most common symptoms of autism is difficulty with nonverbal communication. That means your child may not make eye contact, lack the ability to use and understand facial expressions and might have inappropriate body posture at times. Many parents report that they first noticed a problem because their baby wouldn’t look in their eyes. Kids develop at different rates, but if you’re concerned about your child’s communication skills, it pays to talk to the pediatrician.


Resists Affection

Kids with autism often resist your attempts to snuggle or hug them. It might be too overwhelming or they might not understand that it’s how you show your love. If your child occasionally doesn’t want to sit on your lap because she’s too busy with other things, don’t worry. It’s the consistent resistance of your shows of affection that should worry you.


Delayed Speech

The symptoms of autism vary in severity, but many kids with the condition experience delays in speech. Some don’t talk at all. Again, children progress at their own rates, so resist comparing your little one to your best friend’s child or even his own siblings. However, if your child doesn’t reach speech development milestones, autism may be to blame.



Repetitive motions and words are one of the hallmarks of autism. The repetition may be soothing and comforting to some kids, but might also be a tic for others. No matter what it is, have your child evaluated for a firm diagnosis. This might include hand flapping and saying the same word or phrase over and over.


Focus on Details

This might not sound so bad, but autistic kids are known for being obsessed with certain aspects of the bigger picture. That might be a focus on the wheels on her favorite car. She may spin them repeatedly without actually playing with the toy. Children are naturally curious and most go through phases where they are obsessed with certain things. However, if that obsession tends toward the pieces rather than the whole, you should definitely mention it to your child’s pediatrician.


Routines and Rituals

Most kids thrive on routine, but a child with autism can’t handle a disruption to his routine. When it happens, an autistic kid may have a tantrum or withdraw from the situation. Autism also produces ritualistic behaviors. You might notice your child performing the same task a certain number of times or wanting his toys arranged in a specific pattern. He’ll become very upset at disturbances.


No Conversational Skills

Even very young babies can have the “back and forth” of a conversation, even if you can’t understand what she’s saying. Kids with autism don’t have this skill. Some start out with it, but as the condition presents itself, those conversational skills disappear. Anytime your child makes a regression in her development, it’s time to call the doctor. A lack of proper conversation can indicate autism, so have it checked out.

What do you know about autism? Parenting an autistic child has its challenges, but it can be rewarding as well. If you’re ever concerned your child has autism, make an appointment with the pediatrician.

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My background is autism and special needs and I totally understand challenges that parents/ guardians go through I haven't worked with autistic children but my experience is more with adults who still are awaiting diagnosis, it becomes a battle when professionals out there not sure who should carry this out. I am very pleased with the national autistic society that has great information out there for people who are new to autism. And thank you for this post !

I'm glad to see an article like this on here, I have mild autism myself so I understand some aspects of it. I feel sorry for parents who have to cope with it but it is a life-long condition, and if you spot it early, you may be lucky to change a few things for the better! I have met a few with autism throughout my life, and I find that you need to have really good patience and be as calm as you can, no matter how annoying or frustrating it is. Some traits can be positive, so if your child is creative, academic, or sporty, please do support them as much as possible! They need all the support and positivity they can get, and if they can achieve a healthy self esteem you can set them up for life. It's a roller coaster having a child with autism!

My youngest son has autism and it's been hard, we are learning and reading things like this helps. Thank you!

I'm also working with children at the moment and would love to work with children who have autism, if anyone's dealing with this kind of thing I'd be curious to know how you cope with it on a day to day basis :)

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