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How to Recognize the Early Signs of Autism in Children?

Autism is a disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behaviour. It typically appears in early childhood, and early identification and intervention can have a significant impact on a child's development. In this article, we'll discuss the importance of autism awareness, autism diagnosis, symptoms, and early signs in children.


Autism Awareness

Autism awareness has experienced significant advancement throughout the preceding decades, owing in part to the strenuous endeavours of parents, caretakers, and organisations. Nevertheless, there remains a difficult task of acceptance of autism. Among the most formidable hurdles is detecting the early indicators of autism in juveniles, which can frequently be intricate and unobserved.


The awareness of autism must be promoted to ensure that a greater multitude can detect the early manifestations and secure diagnosis and therapy for their progeny. The proliferation of awareness can also attenuate the social ostracism and prejudice directed towards individuals with autism and their families.


Autism Diagnosis

Autism diagnosis is a multifaceted and comprehensive endeavour that entails an intricate evaluation of a child's developmental past, their present behaviour and their symptomatic expressions. It is critical to bear in mind that there is no solitary test or unequivocal means of diagnosing autism, and the diagnosis typically entails the participation of a multi-disciplinary coalition of healthcare professionals.


The diagnostic journey frequently necessitates a combination of interviews, observations, and standardised evaluations. A healthcare professional of considerable expertise, such as a paediatrician or developmental psychologist, will often initiate the procedure by assembling pertinent information regarding the child's developmental history and their current symptomatic expressions. This might include communicating with parents, guardians, and educators, as well as conducting a thorough perusal of medical records and other relevant documentation.


In addition, supplementary evaluations may be required to appraise other facets of development, such as cognitive capacities and adaptive functioning. This could encompass a meticulous scrutiny of the child's communication skills, motor functions, and overall proficiency in executing daily activities like dressing and self-nourishment.


Upon the ascertainment of an autism diagnosis, progenitors and caretakers can initiate collaboration with healthcare professionals to construct a meticulously customised treatment plan that aptly accommodates the individualised requirements of the child. Such a plan may comprise an array of multifaceted interventions that encompass behavioural therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.


In certain instances, pharmaceuticals may also be administered to target specific symptoms, such as anxiety or hyperactivity. A timely and continuous intervention, supplemented with diligent support, can contribute to empowering individuals with autism to unleash their full potential and lead lives that are satisfyingly replete with purpose.


Autism Symptoms

Autism symptoms vary, but some common characteristics are often seen in individuals with the disorder.


These include:


  • Social Communication Difficulties: Children with autism may have difficulty with social communication, including making eye contact, using appropriate facial expressions, and understanding nonverbal cues.
  • Repetitive Behaviours and Restricted Interests: Children with autism may engage in repetitive behaviours. For example, rocking back and forth, or lining up objects in a particular way. They may also have restricted interests, such as an intense fascination with a specific topic or object.
  • Sensory Issues: Children with autism may have unusual reactions to sensory input, such as being overly sensitive to sounds, textures, or smells, or having a high tolerance for pain or discomfort.
  • Communication Challenges: Autistic children may have difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication, including delayed language development, difficulty initiating or sustaining conversations, and a tendency to repeat words or phrases (echolalia).
  • Social Interaction Challenges: Children with autism may struggle with social interaction, including difficulty making friends, trouble understanding social cues, and a tendency to engage in solitary play.


Early Signs of Autism in Children

Early identification of autism is crucial for ensuring that children receive appropriate interventions and support as early as possible. While the diagnosis of autism typically occurs around age two or three, there are often early signs that parents and caregivers can look out for.

Some early signs of autism in infants and toddlers may include:


  • Lack of Eye Contact: Infants with autism may not make eye contact or seem to avoid looking at others.
  • Delayed Language Development: Children with autism may exhibit delayed language development, such as not responding to their name, not babbling, or using gestures, or not speaking single words by age one.
  • Repetitive Behaviours: Children with autism can indulge in repetitive behaviours, such as rocking back and forth, spinning objects, or flapping their hands.
  • Lack of Interest in Play: Children with autism may not show an interest in social play or may prefer to play alone.


As children get older, other signs of autism may become more apparent. Some early signs of autism in preschool-aged children may include:


  • Difficulty with Social Interaction: Children with autism may have difficulty making friends or may prefer to play alone. They may also struggle to understand social cues and may not respond appropriately in social situations.
  • Repetitive Behaviours and Restricted Interests: Children with autism may engage in repetitive behaviours, such as lining up objects or engaging in repetitive motions such as hand-flapping. They may also have restricted interests, such as an intense fascination with a specific topic or object.
  • Sensory Issues: Children with autism may have difficulty with sensory processing, such as being overly sensitive to certain sounds or textures or having a high tolerance for pain or discomfort.


It is important to note that these early signs are not necessarily definitive indicators of autism, and some children may exhibit these behaviours without having autism. However, if parents or caregivers are concerned about their child's development, it is important to seek an evaluation from a healthcare professional.



Autism is a disorder that affects individuals in a variety of ways. While there is no treatment for autism, early screening and monitoring can greatly improve outcomes for children with autism. By understanding the early signs and symptoms of autism, parents and caregivers can help ensure that children receive the support and interventions they need as early as possible.


Medanta Medical Team
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