Autism: Signs and Symptoms (Childhood and Adulthood)

Attention! Your child may have autism!

If your child has these signs listed down below, it is a good time to see an expert!

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • If your child does not make eye contact or just makes eye contact at any time he or she wants,
  • If your child does not look back or pay attention when his or her name is told,
  • If your child is around 1.5 years of age and still do not speak or have certain words and then disappeared,
  • If your child speaks only when he or she wants to or when it is necessary to say 1-2 words, 
  • If your child has echolalia which means repeating everything he or she hears,
  • If your child does not show something with his/her index finger, 
  • If your child constantly expresses his/her wishes by disturbing others,
  • If your child cannot wave as a symbol of a bye 
  • If your child cannot establish symbolic play, such as a dollhouse,
  • If your child cannot perform dramatization,
  • If your child has imitation skills limited or even no imitation skills, 
  • If your child does not establish a relationship with peers and play with them, 
  • If your child treats other people around them as things or tools,
  • If your child shows obsessing behaviors such as always uses the same path, repeats the same things, 
  • If your child has ritualistic behaviors, 
  • If your child makes repetitive and stereotypic behaviors, such as flapping their arms, looking at their hands, swinging, rotating objects, turning around themselves, shaking objects like rope, moving unrelated objects in their hands,
  • If your child does not use the toys for the purpose,
  • If your child has no facial expression that matches the emotional state and does not use gestures and facial expressions, 
  • If your child is not aware of the danger, 
  • If your child is less sensitive to pain,
  • If your child is walking at your toes,
  • If your child has meaningless, unwarranted crying or laughing,
  • If your child has tantrums, self-harm behaviors such as chin-hitting, head-hitting, or self-biting, 
  • If your child does not like being touched or wants to touch his/her parents, especially the mother, continuously, 
  • If your child is not reactive in separations and reunions, 
  • If your child has a feeling of insecurity in the changing environment and in the changing behaviors, 


Autism Spectrum Disorder is an important neurodevelopmental disorder in which symptoms and signs are observed in early childhood. In some children, some of these stages start earlier, while in some children some of the symptoms are normal, while others develop symptoms or disruptions. A suspicion of autism is caused by a delayed or unresponsive biological speech.  

Different regions of the brain cannot work together in autism. Most individuals with autism will always be challenged to communicate with others. But early diagnosis has helped more and more people use their full potential. Although the exact cause of autism is not known, some scientists think it is genetic. It is currently being investigated which gene can cause this disorder.

Other studies have focused on whether autism is triggered by certain drugs or things around the child. Some scientists believe that childhood vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella are caused by this. But research has shown that this is not real. It is important to make these vaccines because these vaccines protect the child from diseases that may cause death or even cause death.

Sensory problems are evident in the symptoms seen in autism spectrum disorder. Sensory problems reduce the harmony of the individual with the environment. It reduces the adaptation of the individual to life. For example; high sensitivity to sound, touch sensitivity, sensitivity to light, problems of depth, problems with balance, and the problems that continue with the development of the individual continue to increase the problems in the social order. 

There is a father of a child with autism spectrum disorder and he told their story about that. His daughter was 3 years old when she was diagnosed with autism. Since her birth, they spoke in English with her and that’s why her family welcomed her delay in speech. But over time, they cannot make sense. After the age of 2, the child started playing games. She could play reconnaissance games for hours and remove and install objects. 

However, she did not look back when they called her name. Mostly it did not seem to listen to parents and people around her. Even though she seemed to be playing very well with her peers, her father realized that she had never looked at the other’s face and that she only played object-oriented. She never cared for those who came home. His daughter was eating all sorts of food, but it was supposed to turn into the mash. When they gave the meal as a solid, she did not even touch the food. 

She wanted her wishes by pointing with her finger without crying. She began to shake from the age of 2.5 and she was doing so rhythmically that her parents thought that she was dancing. The father says that they only had to go once in order for her to memorize a place. One day they went to dinner where they never went before. As they walked from the car to the restaurant, the girl saw the bookstore that they were constantly shopping and she ran in that direction. She was in a weeping crisis because, obviously, her parents did not let her go to the bookstore. The father could not keep his kid in his arms. The child completely closed herself to the world. 

Now, he says that he understands that crying was an autism-related obsession and anger. Also, he added that if someone else spends a day with his daughter, he/she will not notice these details. They think that his daughter is a very naughty and stubborn child. After such events, his wife and he said to each other, ‘Do you not suspect anything anymore?’ And their adventure of autism spectrum disorder started.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the neurodevelopmental disorders in DSM-5 which is The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used by clinicians and psychiatrists, in short mostly mental health professionals, in order to diagnose psychiatric illnesses. 

Autism is characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, and stereotyped behaviors and interests. Although the severity of the symptoms varies, individuals with autism have certain symptoms in some areas. 

There is a gender difference in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Symptoms vary by gender. Boys are getting diagnosed more than girls. Because during their childhood, boys are more aggressive than girls and their parents take them more often than take girls to the pediatricians. ASD symptoms in girls may be more nuanced and difficult to notice. Parents do not think that girls do not have ASD. This situation leads to a delayed or completely missed diagnoses. 

Girls in an adolescence period more commonly have troubles with social cues, while adolescent boys are likely to exhibit repetitive behaviors. After infancy and elementary school periods, boys have more trouble with social cues than girls. 

1. Persistent deficiencies in social life (should be met currently or by history) 

  • a. They can have deficiencies in back and forth social relationships
    • Forming abnormal social relationships
    • having problems close to other people around them, even to parents
    • having problems in establishing and maintaining an eye to eye conversations
    • reduced or lack of sharing whether emotions or interests
    • inability to establish communications or respond
  • b. They can have deficiencies in nonverbal behaviors
    • form poorly verbal and nonverbal communication
    • abnormalities in having an eye contact 
    • abnormalities in body language
    • having deficits in comprehensive skills and usage of gestures
    • having no ability to themselves with facial expressions
    • lack of understanding and using nonverbal behaviors such as social expressions, gestures, and body language
  • c. They can have deficiencies in core values of relationships
    • having difficulties in determining suitable behaviors to the contexts and places
    • underestimating peer relations and not developing one
    • having difficulties in establishing imaginative play, or in establishing new friendships

2. Limited and repeating patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities    

  • a. stereotyped, limited, or repeating behaviors, objects, and speech
    • For example; they could have simple motor stereotypes; they could line up toys or flip objects; they could have echolalia which means that mechanical and meaningless repetition of the words of another person or themselves; they could use idiosyncratic phrases while talking; They can turn around themselves, which is the most distinct symptom of autism.
  • b. having an inclination on sameness, being highly inflexible on routines, or ritualizing verbal or nonverbal behavior
    • For example; they would be in extreme distress or overreaction at even tiny changes; They could have difficulties with transition; they can have very strict thinking patterns such as eating the same food every day, wearing the same clothes, and even in the same color every day or need to take the same route every day. 
  • c. highly restricted, inflexible interests which are absolutely not normal
    • For example; They could have a strong attachment to interesting objects; they might have overly perseverative interests.
  • d. hyperactivity or hypo-reactivity to inputs which are sensorial or interesting interests in them
    • For example; They could have obvious ignorance to pain, obvious ignorance to temperature, unusual response to specific stimuli overly smell or touch objects around them, getting fascinated by shiny lights.

  • —- Specify if; based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors
    • requiring very substantial support
    • requiring substantial support
    • requiring support

Autism spectrum disorder is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect all of them in different ways. Some of them can live relatively independent lives but others may need a lifetime of specialist support. In other words, they are at a different point on the spectrum and their autism severity level can vary. Based on severity level, their level of support should be determined.

3. Autism spectrum disorder symptoms must be observed in early life periods.

4. Autism spectrum disorder symptoms cause significant impairments but clinically.

  • —- Specify if; 
    • Whether there is an intellectual impairment or not
    • Whether there is a language impairment or not

What Are the Social Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

The ability to establish eye contact or to establish a short period of time eye contact may be considered at first signs of autism symptoms. The use of gestures is also very limited. In addition, individuals with having social interaction problems cannot adjust their distance and tone with a person. A person with autism spectrum disorder cannot demonstrate the same development as his or her peers and has difficulty in establishing interaction with people of their age. 

Individuals with autism develop relationships but they would be based on certain points of interest of specific people, not with everyone. Group activities are very difficult for them. They generally prefer loneliness and enjoy a limited amount of activities with others. 

They do not express themselves easily when they are surprised and they do not respond to verbal praises. When other people around them show interest in individuals with autism, they do not respond and act as if they are not aware of those people. They are indifferent to this situation when there is a change in the environment. They cannot aware of simply do not care when there is someone crying, angry, or rejoicing.

What Are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder When Communicating?

Autism symptoms include speech difficulties due to the late language development of children with autism. Some children may not be able to say a single word even if they exceed 2 years of age. They may be unable to make a sentence other than simple sentences of two words, even though they are older than 3 years of age. 

It can be also included that the problem of having difficulty in conversations among communication difficulties. People with communication problems, among people with autism, have great difficulty in initiating, maintaining, and terminating speech. They do not like to talk about anything other than they decide to talk. They can repeat it again and again what someone has said to them, it is echolalia. They can express the sentences they heard on television or the phrases they read from somewhere at an irrelevant time. 

They can try to communicate with others using words that do not make any sense and make up their own. They have difficulty in using their imagination in the games they play. They play with their toys in a way that is different from the other children, for example, they can play with cars as a doll. 

What Are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder That Occur in the Form of Limited and Repetitive Behaviors?

While individuals with autism are very interested in some issues, they have nothing to do with some issues or simply ignore them. They do not even react. They might want to do the same thing all the time. They may want to do the same thing at any time when they are interested in something. They may want to do some sort of behavior the same way each time. They may get angry if it is not done the way they want. 

Among the symptoms of autism, extreme attention to moving objects by making unusual hand movements also could be considered. It is not enough to observe only one of these behaviors. At least two of the social interaction problems, as well as at least one of the other categories, should be observed as a symptom.

On the other hand, the child may not have autism spectrum disorder even if he or she has autism symptoms. At this point, an expert such as mental health professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, or pediatrician will surely help. There are actually many branches under the subject of autism spectrum disorder. According to the symptoms of autism, it can be determined whether or not the child has which type of treatment.

There is a girl who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 2. She wiped off fine art school because she had autism and she was an unwelcome student during her education life, however, finally she got her dream. Now, she is a university student. 

During her primary, secondary, and high school education, she attended school for normally developed children and attended mainstreaming classes. The musical talent, which has been noticed since her little ages, could not be evaluated due to the lack of suitable educators. 

She was 13 when she started her music education. The rapid development of her and her start to play the piano gave a new direction to her life. That girl with an autism spectrum disorder, who has been playing the piano for about 7 years, has the ability to determine the frequency of the sound she has heard and to convert it to the correct notes without the reference voice, which is called the absolute ear. 

In 2016, she performed in the sixth ANCA International World Autism Festival in which children with autism spectrum disorder competed in Canada and came back to her country with her third prize. After that, she continues to give many concerts both in her own country and abroad. She is happy now. As a musician who studies at university, she wants to give concerts abroad and represent her school in the best way possible.

Her mother is stating that it is not easy to bring an individual with autism to this stage. She says: “There are many individuals with autism and families that cannot experience the excitement of starting school in these days when schools are opened. I could not even imagine these days as a mother who had experienced the same concern many years ago. Our daughter, who could not even think that she would start school, successfully completed the fine arts high school. Last year and this year, our daughter attended the talent examinations in order to go to university, but in many places, no real evaluation was made without prejudices. We worked hard all summer. While she was very exhausted in lessons, I was exhausted while organizing her lectures and ran to different corners of the city. Our biggest dream, as a family, is to have a life where our daughter is happy, peaceful, able to work, and live safely.

Symptoms of Autism in Adulthood

Autism spectrum disorder can occur in all age, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Even if severe forms of autism are often diagnosed in the first 3 years of life, but high-functioning individuals may get diagnosed much later in life. Autism spectrum disorder is actually spread over a very diverse range and is available in different types. While autism can be diagnosed at very young ages, some types of autism are also observed in adults. 

In recent years, Autism Spectrum Disorder awareness has increased dramatically. It shows that there is an increase both in diagnoses and in the public’s understanding. That’s why, even in adulthood, when people see the symptoms of autism in themselves or other people around them, they go to professionalists to get diagnosed. 

Regardless of manifestation or severity, autism symptoms commonly interfere with everyday life. These symptoms occur in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive or ritualistic behaviors, as same when it occurs in childhood. However, high- functioning individuals may exhibit only mild challenges.

In general, brain function is affected by autism, which brings with it communication problems and social interaction difficulties. In the first three years of life, the symptoms of autism appear in general. Early diagnosis is very important for effective treatment. Autism symptoms in adults are similar to those seen in children. However, it can be a confusing process to understand whether the behaviors are autism-related, as they are somehow adapted to adult life.

The most severe symptom seen in adults is that they cannot perform their daily tasks and activities properly. This often leads to the need to care for someone. Some individuals with autism who are adults can live with their families at the same house. Some individuals with autism can live together with other people with autism in home-controlled and controlled homes. 

Most adults with autism are not inclined to engage in social interaction and social communication because they have difficulty in creating and maintaining a job. One of the most important symptoms is that they lack empathy. This causes other people around them, like u, to perceive individuals with autism as cold. However, it is useful to remind that this is a sign of autism.

It is also observed that most adults with autism have an obsession with an object or a situation. When this pattern is altered or impaired, an individual with autism may be upset or irritable. As we mentioned before, it is the main symptom of autism and it is observed in both childhood and adulthood.

Asperger syndrome, another form of autism spectrum disorder, can be diagnosed in school years or in adolescence. The symptoms are less obvious. It is a life-long condition, but progress is also possible. Adults with this symptom are more successful in developing their abilities. They can also improve themselves to be more aware of social cues such as body language. 

Adult people with Asperger syndrome may not tend to prefer in order to live alone. Most of them get married and most of them also have children. Contrary to the distraction in autism, individuals with Asperger syndrome can be focused for a long time and they are very careful about details. The longer focusing times and attention to detail can help them achieve a very successful career. They even have a great tendency to progress in their careers such as engineering, science, and technology. Early treatment of autism as a child is very important. Thus, further developments can be achieved. 

  • They have difficulties to interpret what other people are thinking or feeling
  • They have trouble interpreting facial expressions, gestures, body language, or social cues around them.
  • They have difficulties in regulating their emotion and in understanding others’.
  • They have troubles in order to keep up a conversation
  • They have an inflection that does not reflect feelings
  • They could have difficulties to manage and maintain the natural give-and-take of a conversation.
  • They are prone to have monologues on a favorite subject
  • They have a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors
  • They have a tendency to engage in routine behaviors
  • They only participate in a restricted range of activities
  • They are strictly consistent on daily routines and they could have outbursts when changes occur
  • They mostly have deep knowledge of one particular topic

There is a man who told his story with an autism spectrum disorder. Before getting a diagnosis, life was like torture for him. For a long time, he was describing his life as a train wreck would not have been far from reality. According to him, everything had been falling apart, getting worse and worse. Until several points when he thought he could not take or he did not want anymore. After that, he went to an expert and he got diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. 

After getting the diagnosis, through his own hard work, research, and willpower, he would resume his full-time education, started doing voluntary autism research, and went to work as a volunteer related to autism. Thanks to those activities, he had new friends and interests and he worked hard towards many goals and ambitions. He stated that it was not easy at the beginning, but after diagnosis life became easier.

Melissa & Doug Shapes Sound Puzzle

It is a great toy in order to teach shapes, colors, and names to children on the autism spectrum. This puzzle encourages the interaction between children and parents, children, and educators. Your child will repeat each time after hearing the sound and with this way it will become easier to learn colors and shapes. It is a very attractive toy that you will be happy with it.

VTech Rhyme and Discover Book (Discontinued by manufacturer)

It is an educational toy for both children with autism and without autism. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store. After each time your child plays, you can easily wipe it to clean. There no odor or chemicals in its material. It is very safe and durable. The questions will encourage your child to think and learn. It encourages your child to play. It creates a relation between children on the autism spectrum and their peers.

Junior Learning JL178 CVC Builders Activity Cards

It is an amazing educational set for both children on the autism spectrum and normally developed children. You can easily teach vowels to your child and then give them an opportunity to create verbs and activities. There are images and activities on each card to represents what they mean. In order to show the difficulty level, there are colors on each card. Thus, you can choose the proper ones according to your child’s level. You will certainly be appreciated and very glad to have these cards.

Key Education Sentence Building for Kids—Sight Word Builder for Early Reading, Speech, Writing, Language, Literacy Resource for Kindergarten-2nd Grade

It is a multi-purpose educational and learning set. It gives you a chance to teach basic sentences and sentence structures to your child. There are words and pictures on each card to show everything in detail. Your child will learn capitalization, punctuation, and structure easily with this educational set. It is easy to create new words and new sentences. It improves your child’s reading skills. It is also an interactive game to establish a great bond with your child and their peers. It meets the needs of all children before school. Within a couple of weeks, you will see the difference with your eyes. You will certainly be amazed at the results.

Learning Resources MathLink Cubes, Homeschool, Educational Counting Toy, Math Blocks, Linking Cubes, Early Math Skills, Math Cubes Manipulatives, Set of 100 Cubes, Easter Gifts for Kids, Ages 5+

It is a skill development set. It helps to improve the maths skills of your child whether on the autism spectrum or not. Your child will learn counting, comparison, grouping, measurements, graphing, adding, and subtracting. With these cubes, you can teach colors, shapes, and patterns as well. They improve your child’s fine motor movements basically. Basically, it helps your child transition to early education. It has a very basic and easy design. You will certainly be appreciated and very glad to have these cubes.

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