Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) used to be referred to as just autism, but the name expanded to accommodate the wide range of behaviors and symptoms, which vary from mild to severe. That said, diagnosing clinical ASD can be difficult, especially among kids who are constantly changing.
There are some broad characteristics of ASD, which is diagnosed in 1 in 36 kids in the United States, that you might want to watch for, including these 10.
This symptom can start at an early age — as soon as a child learns to focus their eyes. While it’s normal for a child to be distracted, if you notice they refuse to make or maintain eye contact, it could signal ASD.
This is one symptom of ASD that’s hard to ignore, affecting about a third of people with ASD. Also called non-verbal ASD, the person has poor communication skills such as poor word choice, repetition of words and statements, unique habit of use of consonants and vowels.
A common characteristic of ASD is a lack of facial expressions and variation of speech that signal emotion, such as happiness, anger, or sadness.
Not only do people with ASD not show emotion, they may not experience or recognize it well. So, a person with ASD often can’t “read” another person’s feelings and react accordingly.
People with ASD often don’t interact well with others and prefer to be alone. In fact, kids with ASD often show no interest in play and don't notice when other kids around them are having fun.
Kids love to dress up and pretend. However, these behaviors are more challenging for kids on the spectrum.
Another common sign of ASD is repetitive movements, such as flapping hands, rocking, etc. Also noted are ritualistic behavior such as constant rubbing of hand, brushing of face or hair etc.
People with ASD often want order in their worlds, which means sticking very close to routine and ensuring everything is in order. So, your child may insist that toys be lined up in a certain way and they function best on a schedule.
People with ASD often don’t react well to change. For kids, this can mean a meltdown.
Kids with ASD often limit their interests to just a few things — they might be particularly fascinated by boats, and boats alone, for example. Trying to tempt them toward another interest typically fails.
Please know that this list is far from complete, but it gives you an idea of the wide range of symptoms associated with ASD.
If you recognize these behaviors in your child or loved one, come see us — the sooner, the better. With early intervention, we can often help children adjust better to society so they can lead happier and more engaged lives.
Talk and behavioral therapies are at the core of how we treat ASD, but we’ve also had success with transcranial magnetic stimulation as an adjunct treatment, especially when there are symptoms that mirror obsessive-compulsive disorder and episodes of aggression. Studies also has shown TMS effective in improving social skills.
For expert and compassionate diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, please call our office in San Diego, California, at 858-923-5226 or book an appointment online today.