Symptoms And Signs Of Autism

a Mile to a Smile

Symptoms Of Autism

Autism symptoms emerge in toddlers at around 18 months but can also be identified in primary school due to complex social environments. Symptoms include challenges in social rules, communication, emotions, rigid behavior, and learning difficulties like inattentiveness and poor observation skills.


You should feel concerned if more than one of these symptoms has occurred: 

  • Not able to point or follow others’ pointing (poor joint attention skills) 
  • Difficulties in understanding others’ emotions and expressing own feelings 
  • Avoidance of eye contact 
  • Poor perspective-taking abilities 
  • Repeating words or sentences and speaking in incomplete sentences 
  • Poor adaptive skills 


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Main Early Signs In Toddlers With Autism

Many parents are worried about whether their children have autism.

While we strongly urge parents to seek an assessment at the earliest signs of concern, the list below can serve as a reference to help determine if your child requires an assessment.

Kindly remember that early assessment allows you to identify the optimal window for your children to receive training as soon as possible.

While each child experiences an unique form of autism, the primary affected areas generally include:

Defective Language And
Communication Skills

Social Skills And Social
Interaction Barriers

Poor Cognitive And
Adaptive Skills

Limited Interests and
Repetitve Behaviors

Defective Language And Communication Skills

Parents should monitor their children’s speech development, as most can use single words at 18 months and progress to 2-word phrases by 24 months.

Effective communication involves spontaneous expression, seeking help, making requests, and showing interest. 

Social Skills And Social Interaction Barriers 

By 12 months, children start using body language (pointing, shaking/nodding heads), engage in interactions (smiling, pointing), and attempt communication. 

Eye contact, verbal language, imitation, and gathering information are essential aspects of their communication development. 

Poor Cognitive And Adaptive Development 

Cognitive ability is more difficult to observe, but parents can observe whether their children are having more difficulties adapting to changes. 

For example, does your child get upset and throw tantrums when you change the transportation to school?

Difficulty adjusting to new classes or small changes in daily life may indicate a need for professional help.

Limited Interests and Repetitive Behaviors

Parents should observe if their children engage in repetitive motor movements (hand flapping) or speech (echolalia). Children might be resistant to new toys and have repetitive play styles such as spinning wheels or lining things up.  

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Diminished Of Eye Contact In Autism

Diagnosing autism involves assessing eye contact avoidance in children. A US study using eye-tracking technology revealed that typically developing children focus on others’ eyes, interpreting facial expressions and responding to changes. Children with autism also pay attention to eyes but struggle to understand facial expressions, indicating difficulty in comprehending their meaning. 

a Mile to a Smile

If In Doubt, Seek Assessment As Soon As Possible.