About autism spectrum disorders
Who gets an autism spectrum disorder?
What causes these disorders?
Signs to look for (symptoms)
- prefer not to be held or cuddled, or cuddle only when they want to
- appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
- have delayed language skills for their age and they may use language in unusual ways, such as speaking very formally or repeating words
- not look at objects when another person points to them
- prefer to play alone, and not be really interested in others
- not make eye contact
- ignore greetings, such as hello or goodbye
- not respond to children’s games such as peek-a boo or hide and seek
- not play “pretend” games (for example, pretending to “feed” a doll)
- over-react to loud noises or dislike intensely some tastes or smells.
At school they may:
- repeat actions over and over again
- avoid eye contact and want to be alone
- have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or responding to their expressions or emotions
- have very set and/ or unusual routines and can get very upset at changes in routine
- like to line things up and have things set out in a particular way
- appear to get stuck doing the same thing over and over, and if it’s something they are interested in they may talk about it endlessly
- have unusual movement patterns (such as hand flapping or walking on toes)
- have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
- not respond or appear to understand requests.
Some people with autism spectrum disorders, who may be severely impaired in most ways, will sometimes display an exceptional talent for, say, maths or music. Some have a remarkable memory for numbers or dates as well as other things that particularly interest them.