Special Needs

5 Signs To Look For If You Suspect Your Child Has Autism

child with Autism learning to paint with mom

Autism falls on a spectrum with a wide range of conditions, encompassing challenges and differences with social skills, behavior, speech, and nonverbal communication. When a child is born, it’s difficult to detect if there are any signs of Autism or another neurological condition. However, as your child grows up, some behaviors will become more prominent.

Here are five signs to look for if you suspect your child has Autism, as well as some resources to help you along the way!

Not Responding To Names

One of the basic ways to get your child’s attention is by calling their name. However, if they don’t respond to this, it means they have not developed a relationship with it and could have a hard time understanding how to connect it.

This is, of course, not the only way to learn if your child might have Autism because it could also relate to a language disorder, especially when they are still young. Still, it’s good to get a jump start and take your kid to a pediatrician if they aren’t responding close to their first birthday.

Avoiding Eye Contact

Avoiding eye contact is an early indicator of Autism. This will create social deficits for a child, like social and occupational impediments. Eye contact has a strong emotional and psychological reaction, meaning that the child with Autism will feel invaded and have a sensory overload. Parent training for Autism is important for you to learn how to deal with new and specific situations as well as support your child along the journey (without overwhelming them!).

Getting Very Upset

Certain situations can cause a child with Autism to become upset, like smelling something they don’t like or hearing specific sounds. This is because they understand the world differently. They have a hard time learning the meaning of facial expressions, body language, and sometimes what you say to them, resulting in frustration and anxiety that could lead to distress behavior.

‘Overwhelm’ or emotional distress are one of the biggest signs to look for if you suspect your child has Autism. If you notice this, talk to your child’s doctor and/or support team (behavior specialists, occupational/physical therapists, etc.) to seek their advice, counsel, and recommendations.

Repetitive Movements

Repetitive movements are another sign to look for if you suspect your child has Autism. Children on the spectrum will repeat movements with their hands, such as fidgeting with objects, clapping, twirling items between their fingers, jumping, walking on toes, or rocking the body back and forth. This is because they are trying to understand how the body works and find their own way to regulate.

Difficulty Connecting With Emotions

This is a hard task to do, even for some adults. Children with Autism have difficulty expressing how they feel and even understanding what a feeling is. Sometimes a child won’t respond emotionally to a situation, or the emotional response might be over the top. They have a hard time controlling and managing those emotions.

Pay attention to your child’s emotional reaction and potential triggers, if they have a hard time recognizing, processing, or expressing emotions, it may  mean they need a bit more support in that area as they grow.

To learn more about parenting children with disabilities and/or special needs, head to our Special Needs page!