As many of you may know from following my blog, my son was diagnosed with Autism right after her turned age 2. He was diagnosed with moderate/severe Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. Back before he was diagnosed I knew a little about Autism, but not everything. So I went about researching as much as I could, to learn everything I could about Autism and to help my son the best I could. The first thing I did was speak to my son’s pediatrician regarding all the signs I had seen in my son that lead me to believe he was Autistic. Here is my list of 12 signs that you may be noticing in your child, that could mean they are on the spectrum. If you are concerned about your child and see several of these signs in them, please reach out to your pediatrician with your concerns as soon as possible.
1.) Speech Delay/Regressed Speech. My son was an infant who was talking before the age of 1. He was saying the common words that hit milestones, like Dada, Baba and so on. But, a little bit after his 1st birthday he regressed. All of a sudden my son just stopped talking. No matter what I did, he just wouldn’t say any words again. This was one of the first things I noticed that concerned me. Speech Delay/Regressed Speech is one big sign of Autism.
2.) No Eye Contact. My son stopped looking us in the eyes also after he turned a year old. We would try to talk to him as much as possible, catch his attention any way we could, but he would never look us in the eyes. He avoided eye contact all the time.
3.) Do Not Want To Be Touched. This sign broke my heart as a Mom. My son did not want to be touched. He never wanted hugs, he would have a meltdown if we snuggled him or hugged him. He never looked for any affection from anyone. I remember many days crying because I just wanted to hug my son and he cried any time I would try. This is a sign of Autism and is very upsetting too. With therapy though, my son now loves hugs and snuggles!
4.) Does Not Respond To Their Name. Another sign is not responding to their names. No matter how many times we called my son’s name, he never once responded.
5.) Head Banging/Self Harm. Because of the lack of ability to communicate their needs, some kids with Autism will get frustrated and self harm. My son would bang his head on floors whenever he needed something, because he was unable to tell us what it was he needed. Behavior and OT therapy helped a lot with this sign and he rarely self harms now.
6.) Doesn’t Play With Toys Correctly/OCD Tendencies. One sign you may notice with your child is that they don’t play with toys correctly. My son would line up toys by item, such as a line of cars, or by color, like all the blue blocks in a row. You may notice your child playing with their toys incorrectly. This is another sign to watch for.
7.) No Sense Of Fear/No Understanding Of Danger. You may notice your child does not understand danger. My son did not understand or have any fear of things that were hot or things like moving cars in a parking lot. We always made sure to be holding him anytime we were out and watching everything he did at home, because he had no fears or understanding of these type of things.
8.) Gets Upset When Routine Is Broken. One sign you may notice is that your child thrives with a routine. But, if you break that routine in any way it can cause them to have a bad meltdown or their whole day to be bad. My son is very much about routines and one change can make it difficult for him the rest of the day.
9.) Does Not Point At Objects. My son not only stopped talking at 1 year of age, but he also did not point to objects. This made it even more difficult when there was something he needed, because he wouldn’t just point to show us what he wanted or needed. Not pointing is another sign of Autism.
10.) Stimming/Sensory Seeking. One big sign with my son was how much he stimmed. Stimming is ways for kids with Autism to get their sensory needs filled or to release tension they may have. Types of stimming are things like hand flapping, rocking their bodies or spinning in circles constantly.
11.) Echolalia. Not every child with Autism is non-verbal. Some kids are verbal and may also have Echolalia. Echolalia is when a child repeats certain phrases or words over and over.
12.) Not Wanting To Socialize With Others. Another big sign of Autism is a child not wanting to socialize with any one else. They are content just being alone. My son never wanted to socialize with other kids when we were around any and with other adults, even family members.
These are 12 signs that your child may have Autism. If you are noticing any of these signs and think that your child may possibly be on the spectrum, start by setting up an appointment with your child’s pediatrician to discuss your concerns. Also, reach out to the Early Intervention Unit in your state. They will be able to come evaluate your child, see what their needs are and start them on therapy while you wait for a diagnosis.
Also, if you are in the process of getting a diagnosis and are looking for a great support group, feel free to join Beautiful Autism Moms and Handsome Autism Dads Too on Facebook. This is a wonderful group of Autism parents and caregivers who can give their advice, share their stories and just be there to listen to any concerns you may have. It is a private, closed support group that I run. Just click above and ask to join.