The signs of being on the Autism spectrum widely differ depending on various aspects of the individual. One of such aspects is their age. Some signs may clearly indicate that there might be a developmental delay for a child, which can be interpreted as something else in adults. These signs can be observed in the behaviors of the individual.
So, how are the signs of Autism seen across the age groups?
10 Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Studies have shown that autism can be diagnosed as early as 14 months. It typically appears in the early ages of an individual.
This means that the first year of the infant is crucial in terms of diagnosis of the disorder.
Many children with autism spectrum disorder show developmental differences. This can especially be seen in their social and language skills. There are certain developmental milestones babies hit while they are growing up.
Parents and caregivers should observe their children’s behaviors so as to be able to catch the disorder early on.
The 10 early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children can be as follows:
- Little to no eye contact during infancy,
- No babbling,
- No smiling,
- Not responding to when called by their names,
- Not pointing to objects,
- Tendency to being alone,
- Limited to no speech,
- Falling into repetitive behaviors,
- Not expressing emotions,
- Not seeming attached to parents.
Subtle differences caused by autism may appear before the child’s first birthday. These differences will be visible in children’s interaction with their surroundings.
When 2-months old, babies generally begin to smile at people, coo, and are able to pay attention to faces. This may not be the case for children with autism spectrum disorder. By 6 months, if a baby;
- doesn’t smile,
- doesn’t smile as big,
- is not showing any other warm, joyful, and engaging expressions
it may be a sign of autism spectrum disorder.
By 9 months, children with ASD:
- make limited or no eye contact with anyone
- don’t share sounds,
- don’t smile back-and-forth with parents.
Before their first birthday, babies on the autism spectrum,
- may not babble,
- may not reach for things,
- may not point to things,
- may not wave back,
- may not respond to their names.
These are some of the early signs indicating that the child may have autism spectrum disorder. Since such signs are seen before the child turns one-year old, they may be easy to miss.
If noticed, these signs should be told to the baby’s physician during their well-being appointments. Caregivers can request that tests be done to detect if the baby has autism spectrum disorder.
What are Some Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers?
When a baby becomes a toddler, various developmental differences, signs and symptoms may become more apparent with the growing age of the child.
During their first year, toddlers with autism spectrum disorder may not:
- like seeing new faces,
- like being cuddled,
- show any affection,
- point their fingers to things,
- respond to their names when they are called,
- speak, or speak few words,
- ask for help when they need it, and struggle instead,
- initiate conversation.
By the time children with autism spectrum disorder are 18 months old, they,
- may not be able to walk, or walk only on their toes
- may find certain sounds, tastes and smells upsetting,
- may fall into repetitive movements, like flapping their hands.
These signs may be more noticeable compared to the signs presented early on. However, the majority of children with autism are not diagnosed before the age of two due to missed signs by caregivers, or lack of access to specialists.
What Are the Signs of Autism in a 2 to 3 Year-Old?
By the time children turn the age of two, they generally speak or imitate the actions of those around them. However, children with autism at the age of 2 to 3:
- may not be able to speak,
- use items differently, like lining up the toys instead of playing with them,
- have limited speech,
- struggle to follow simple instructions,
- have limited inventory of sounds, words, and gestures,
- are not interested in playing with others,
- prefer to be by themselves,
- find it difficult to make friends,
- communicate in small words,
- have a hard time understanding concepts,
- may think literally,
- struggle to express how they are feeling,
- struggle to understand others’ thoughts and feelings,
- may come across as indifferent,
- like their routines,
- don’t like their routines to be interrupted,
- have keen interest in certain subjects or activities,
- repeatedly talk about their limited interests.
Difference of Autism Signs in Boys and Girls
The symptoms of ASD may range from mild to extreme, and there is no definitive list of symptoms that are sure to be shown by each and every child. On top of that, since boys are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder four times more than girls, classic symptoms may be described in a way to refer more to the boys.
The symptoms are generally the same for the both. But, an autistic girl may be:
- hide their feelings better
- good at imitating social behaviors.
This can make the impairs seem much less noticeable compared to the case of boys. Also, the autism traits in girls are reported less by their teachers.
It is important to note that not all children with autism show all of the signs. In addition, many children who actually don’t have autism may show a few of the symptoms and signs. That is why professional evaluation is of utmost importance.
There are certain developmental milestones children reach in terms of their language and social abilities. Caregivers should take notice of these milestones. They should observe children closely during the first few years of their lives. These are crucial times in terms of early diagnosis and intervention. Although not reaching a milestone at a specified time or achieving it late does not necessarily mean that the child has autism, it may be a sign of a developmental delay.
The symptoms and signs are not set in stone. They may change in the future and new ones may be added, but they are the results of extensive research on autism in children. Subtle differences of autism spectrum disorder may be seen before a child’s first birthday. It is important to observe if there is any developmental delay in children to be able to provide the best care possible starting early on.
What Are the Tell-Tale Signs of an Autistic Adult?
Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders. It can be seen in all groups of age. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the disorder does not discriminate between racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
Oftentimes, certain severe forms of ASD are diagnosed before the child turns two. However, high-functioning individuals may not be recognized and diagnosed until later ages in their lives.
- The level of science,
- Knowledge on autism spectrum disorder itself at the time,
- Lack of social and economic means they had,
when such autistic adults were children play a part in not diagnosing them when they were little.
Since autism spectrum disorder is still, in part, a mystery, studies generally focus on where the disorder stems from to figure out how it occurs in the first place. This has caused the focus to be on children. The adults who have never been diagnosed in their lives were partially left out in the research sphere.
However, in recent years, awareness of autism spectrum disorder in adults has increased significantly. This is due to the fact that the public is now aware of the signs and understands that a diagnosis can be made even later in life of a person.
Autism spectrum disorder impacts three main areas in an individual’s life: the social aspect, communication, and their behaviors.
Autism does not present the same signs and symptoms in every individual. So the signs of certain high-functioning autistic adults may be mistaken as ADHD signs. Or if they are not showing severe symptoms like impaired speech, they may not be recognized as being autistic.
Since we understand autism more and more every day, we are now able to differentiate and diagnose more adults with ASD.
There are certain signs that can be observed in autistic adults. They:
- struggle to understand others’ feelings and thoughts,
- may not interpret facial expressions,
- may not maintain back-and-forth conversation,
- have a difficult time understanding body language,
- may be keen on monologuing about their interests,
- struggle to keep up with the give-and-take aspect of communication,
- may feel anxious in social situations,
- may seem blunt and rude without meaning to,
- may prefer to be by themselves.
Similarly to the signs seen in autistic children, adults with autism spectrum disorder;
- strictly adhere to certain routines,
- become uncomfortable when routines are disturbed,
- have limited interests,
- show restricted and repetitive behaviors,
- speak in a monotone voice,
- may not adhere to social rules.
Not all adults with autism show the same signs, or they may show only some of the signs. Some of the autistic adults may also exhibit extraordinary talents. They may be really good and successful in music, math, or art.
Autism is seen more in men than women. Autistic__ women, just like girls with ASD, may be better at __hiding their feelings. They seem better at coping with social situations. Autistic females generally don’t fit the profile usually associated with boys and men. This causes diagnosing women to be more difficult than diagnosing men.
Late diagnosis may bring adults with autism spectrum disorder a sense of clarity. They may be able to understand why they feel in certain ways at certain situations, and those around them can learn how to better communicate with their loved ones, increasing their quality of life.