The Signs That Your Child May Have Autism: Recognition and Support

Everyone has a unique way of thinking, feeling, and acting. Whilst everyone is unique, there are some children who seem to be coping well with life on the outside, are experiencing hidden issues. 

Even those who seem to be coping well with life on the outside can have a variety of hidden issues, especially when it comes to children.

As parents, we’re often on the lookout for any signs that our children might be experiencing physical or mental struggles. When it comes to autism, it can be tricky to spot any early warning signs.This is particularly true for girls or primary school children who have been  fine in their younger years but begin to show signs that you hadn’t expected. 

However, parents of autistic children often know their child’s behaviour is different than usual. They know something’s off as soon as they notice a change in their child’s behaviour. The signs that your child might have autism can be subtle or obvious, as autism is unique and may be mild, moderate or severe. Luckily, there are a few ways you can spot the early signs that your child might have autism. Read on to learn more.


5 Signs Your Child Has Autism


Social withdrawal

The first sign that your child might have autism is social withdrawal. In fact, this is often the very first sign that parents of autistic children notice. If your child is more sensitive than other children, they might withdraw from the group, or not appear as happy within the friendships as they had been. Or if they have never been very social, they might withdraw further into their shell. 

They may say things like, “I’m fine,” when you ask about their feelings. They also might seem indifferent to social interactions or even seem to actively avoid them. At times you may find your child has quite severe reactions to having other children in “their space”.


Stereotypic behaviour

Your child also might have repetitive or odd behaviour. This is often a sign that something is going on inside. Repetitive behaviours are usually quite simple and uninteresting to the rest of the world. Your child might constantly wash his hands, or brush his teeth. We sometimes call these “fidgety” behaviours.

They might also engage in specific movements, like rocking or bouncing his legs. Or they might do something called “stimming,” which is, basically, rhythmic hand movements that help regulate their body.


Hand flapping or other motor tics

Your child might also have motor tics, which are sudden, repetitive movements. Motor tics are different from stereotypic behaviours because they’re caused by a muscle spasm.

And there are many different kinds of motor tics. One of them is hand flapping. If your child’s hands are constantly moving, they might be ticcing. Sometimes your child’s tics will be obvious. Other times they’ll be less obvious, like an unusual movement of the head, face, or eyes.


Constant noises and/or excess talking

Autism affects a child’s ability to communicate, so constant noises and/or excess talking can be an early warning sign. Your child might talk more than usual, or make an unusual amount of noise. They may repeat certain words over and over again. For example, a child with autism might repeat what you say, word-for-word, or they might repeat a song that they have heard.

A GP may call this “echolalia.” Echolalia is one of the most common characteristics of communication in autistic people. While it is a natural process of language acquisition, it becomes a sign of ASD when repetition continues after toddler years.


Avoidance of eye contact

Avoiding eye contact is another common attribute which can be a very frustrating issue for parents and caregivers. 

If your child has autism, they may also have trouble looking at other people’s faces or might also avoid looking at objects that they find interesting.

However, avoidant behaviour is a normal part of development, so, it’s important to remember that your child might engage in other types of eye contact when they are younger, and the avoidance may increase as time passes by.


Trouble with transitions or sensory issues

Finally, your child might have trouble with transitions or sensory issues. This is a very important sign, because it can indicate the presence of autism in a very young child. Kids with autism often have sensory issues. These are the ways their sensory systems are different, and they often result in sensory overload.

For instance, a child with autism might be extremely sensitive to touch. This means that they might feel pain, even if it’s just a touch on the arm, even when that touch is accidental. Your child might also be very sensitive to sound, finding that everything is too loud or too quiet.


The Bottom Line

Now that you know what to look for, take some time to sit back and reflect on what we’ve explained. Are there any signs that your child might have autism? Because if there are, it’s important to work with your health professionals to create a plan to manage and support your family. 

Please, don’t be afraid to speak up. Autistic children need support, and they thrive better when they receive it. So don’t hesitate to reach out for help from our friendly team at All About Kids for advice and support.

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