How to know if your Child has Autism

How to know if your Child has Autism

Watching your child grow and learn is a wonderous thing, but how do you know when should you be worried about their behaviour or development? Signs of Autism can develop in children from a young age, and while many children experience some of these issues, there could be cause for concern if your child is exhibiting multiple or severe symptoms. Here’s our guide on some of the signs and symptoms of Autism in children and what to look out for in your child.

Signs of Autism in young children

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Unlike some conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, there are usually no signs of Autism in a person’s appearance. Instead, symptoms of Autism manifest in behaviours and learning skills. As Autism is a spectrum, a child may have many noticeable signs of the disorder, or minimal symptoms. It’s important to remember that all children are unique, so the signs of Autism in one child could be different in your child, or not exist at all.

That being said, there are a number of things to look out for in younger children that may be symptoms of Autism. These signs can develop in children only a few months old and may include:

  • Being unresponsive or avoiding eye contact
  • Not smiling when you smile at them
  • Not responding when you say their name by 9 months of age
  • Not playing interactive games like peek-a-boo by 12 months of age
  • Repetitive movements such as flapping hands or rocking back and forth
  • Difficulties understanding other’s emotions e.g., when someone is hurt or sad by 24 months of age

Signs of Autism in older children

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For many children, symptoms of Autism become more noticeable after two years of age. This is because as children develop, they will learn new skills, giving more opportunity for new symptoms to manifest. Some signs such as social and communication issues become more apparent as a child grows as they may talk less and prefer to play alone while other children thrive learning new skills. It’s also common for children with Autism to withdraw from new encounters rather than seeking out different experiences. Signs of Autism in children over two include:

  • Not talking as much as other children or repeating phrases constantly
  • Becoming fixated on certain interests or activities
  • Difficulties making friends or playing with other children
  • Becoming upset with changes to routine
  • Playing with toys the same way every time
  • Lining up toys or objects or getting upset when things are out of orde

Developmental delays in Children with Autism

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 As well as the day-to-day symptoms of Autism, many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will experience developmental delays. Particularly prominent with social skills and language skills, developmental delays may appear after you’ve noticed other symptoms in your child, or can be the first sign of Autism. Common delays for children with Autism include:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Difficulties understanding social rules and cues
  • Delayed movement skills
  • Difficulties with learning or delayed cognitive skills

Children may also experience heightened stress due to Autism, leading to:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhea
  • Unusual or excessive moods or emotional reactions
  • Anxiety
  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits

Sensory issues in children with Autism


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 Another common sign of Autism in children is issues with sensory processing. When coupled with other symptoms, difficulties with sensory processing may be an indicator of Autism.

Some signs of sensory processing issues include:

  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • A dislike for loud or sudden sounds
  • Unable to wear “scratchy” or “itchy” clothing, or have clothing tags attached
  • Becoming overwhelmed in large groups

How to know when to seek help

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Many symptoms of Autism are easily dismissed at first and can appear in all children. Symptoms such as developmental delays can also be a sign of other issues and may not be Autism related at all. However, if you are at all worried about your child it’s a good idea to talk about your concerns with your GP. Depending on the number of symptoms your child shows and their severity, it can take time for your child to receive a formal diagnosis, but starting the investigation now is the best thing to give your child the support they need, whatever this may be.

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If your child has Autism, or if they just need some sensory support, our specially designed sensory toys may help. View our full collection here, or contact us for advice on the best toys for your child.