The Assessment Center At Solterra Academy

Early Signs of Autism

Early Signs of Autism

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may show developmental difference when they are babies – especially in social and language skills. However, because they typically sit, crawl and walk on time, less obvious differences in the development of gesture, pretend play and social language often go unnoticed. In addition to spoken language delays and behavioral differences, families may also notice differences in how their child interacts with his or her peers. Remember, one child with ASD can have different symptoms from another child with ASD – the number and severity of symptoms can vary greatly.

Examples of Social Differences in Children with Autism

○ Doesn’t keep eye contact or makes very little eye contact

○ Doesn’t respond to a parent’s smile or mimic other facial expressions

○ Doesn’t look at objects or events a parent is looking at or pointing to

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○ Doesn’t point to objects or events to get a parent to look at them

○ Doesn’t bring objects of personal interest to show a parent

○ Doesn’t have appropriate facial expressions (i.e. sad when others are happy)

○ Unable to understand what others might be thinking or feeling by looking at at their facial expressions

○ Doesn’t show concern for others

○ Unable to make friends or uninterested in making friends

Examples of Communication Differences in Children with Autism

○ Doesn’t point at things to indication needs

○ Doesn’t share things with others

 

○ Doesn’t respond to own name being called but does respond to other sounds (like a car horn or a cat’s meow)

○ Repeats exactly what others say without understanding the meaning (parroting or echoing)

○ Doesn’t say single words by 16 months of age

○ Refers to self as “you” and others as “I” and may mix up pronouns

○ Often doesn’t seem to want to communicate with others

○ Doesn’t start or can’t continue a conversation

○ Doesn’t use toys or objects to represent people or real life in pretend play

○ May have a very good memory, especially for numbers, letters, songs, TV jingles or a specific topic

○ May lose language or other social milestones, usually between the ages of 15 and 24 months (regression)

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A thoughtful, balanced assessment strategy is about more than just testing: it’s about creating better experiences for families,  teachers and students

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