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As a parent, you do everything for your children. This includes noticing when your child might have autism. While realizing this can be challenging, it's part of ensuring your kid has a happy and enjoyable childhood. By identifying early autism signs in your kid, you can get them suitable care and give your kiddo everything they need for a prosperous youth.

Early Autism Signs in Children

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be challenging to identify in your child. It has many characteristics, like social and behavioral challenges. By understanding early autism signs, you can recognize the symptoms and get your kid specialized care and treatment. Here are some early signs of autism in children:

Social Challenges

Social challenges in kids, like lack of interaction and communication with others, are some significant differences in children with and without autism. Social challenges in children with autism can include:

  • Unresponsiveness: Your child doesn't respond to you calling their name. For example, your kid might be playing with a toy and remain fixated on it even after calling out to them and trying to get their attention.
  • Eye contact: Kids without autism often communicate their needs with eye contact. A child with autism might avoid eye contact and not look at you when they see something they want or something that excites them.
  • Engagement: Your kid might not point to objects like a pet or pictures or hold up their toys to draw your attention or show you their interests.
  • Imitation: Children often mimic others' actions. A child with autism might rarely or never copy your actions, like holding a spoon or brushing your hair.
  • Gestures: Your kid might not use hand and body gestures like nodding or shaking their head to indicate yes or no. Or they might not wave or lift their arms to say goodbye and show excitement.
  • Reciprocation: Your child might not smile or laugh back at you or familiar people when smiling and laughing with them.
  • Interaction: Kids with autism might not show interest in other children. For example, if a group of kids are playing, your child might not engage with them and instead sit alone.
  • Conversation: Your child might not speak at all or may talk or babble but not in response to you.
  • Playing: Kids often start games like hide and seek or peek-a-boo. A child with autism might rarely or never start games or initiate play. If you play with your child, they might not continue to play.
  • Comprehension: Your kid might have difficulty understanding instructions like “Give me your teddy” or “Show me your picture.”

Repetitive Behaviors

Early signs of autism can include the following repetitive behaviors:

  • Echolalia: Your child might excessively repeat words and phrases.
  • Hyperfocus: When kids with autism play with toys or objects, they might focus intensely on a specific part, like the spinning wheels on a car.
  • Routine: Your kid might follow patterns like watching a show every day or eating a particular cereal and may get upset when changes in that routine occur.
  • Sensitivity: Your child's mood might change quickly, like when someone does not understand them or disrupts their routine.
  • Attachment: Kids with autism might develop obsessive interests. For example, your child might obsess about animals, numbers or music.
  • Restlessness: Your kid might play with their hand, fidget, rock back and forth, walk on their tip toes or run or walk in circles.
  • Meticulousness: Your child organizes their toys in a particular or same way, like lining them up or piling them on each other.

Delayed Language Development

Language development challenges are common early signs of autism in kids and can have numerous differences:

  • Delayed speech: Your child might start speaking later than kids without autism.
  • Language regression: Your child might begin to talk at an early stage or when they're toddlers and then stop at school age.
  • Unique language or diction: Children with autism can develop a particular language or speaking style. For example, your child might talk like an adult instead of a toddler.
  • Repeating dialogue: Your kid might repeat or reenact dialogues and conversations from movies or adverts in a similar tone and voice.
  • Labeling objects: Your child might excellently label or name things but not ask for them by their name or label.

Sensory Sensitivities

Your child can experience sensory issues like:

  • Hypersensitivity to sensory items: Your kid might become easily overwhelmed and upset by lights and noise.
  • Enjoys sensory sensations: Your child might smell certain objects or rub their face on particular textures.
  • Routine based on senses: Your child only eats food with a specific texture or wears certain colored clothes.

Autism Symptoms in Child Development Stages

Autism can have varying effects at different child development stages like infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged.


Here are some early autism signs in infants 6 to 12 months old:

  • Limited to no eye contact
  • Little reciprocation of a smile, facial expressions or sounds
  • Rarely points or gestures to objects
  • Limited babbling


Early signs of autism in toddlers 1 to 3 years old can include:

  • Limited to no speaking
  • Use a few words, like one or two phrases
  • Pays little attention to sounds and does not turn to locate sounds or respond to loud noises
  • By 18 months, your child can't walk or push wheeled toys
  • By 3 years old, your child has trouble understanding simple instruction
  • Has difficulty handling or moving small objects like toys
  • Finds it challenging to be away from a parent or caregiver
  • May fall often and has difficulty navigating stairs
  • Limited to no interest in play


Signs of autism in preschoolers 3 to 4 years old:

  • Does not respond to their name
  • Has little to no eye contact when speaking to someone
  • Becomes withdrawn and avoids social interactions or prefers to be on their own
  • Repeating words and phrases over and over
  • Lack of speech
  • Develops routines and is resistant to change
  • Display repetitive movements like rocking back and forth
  • Challenges with toilet training
  • Is hypersensitive or becomes distressed with loud noises and lights
  • Cries constantly or not at all

School-Aged Children

School-aged children between 4 and 5 years old can show the following signs of autism:

  • Difficulty understanding verbal communication of peers
  • Challenges understanding social cues
  • Becoming angry and agitated to avoid overwhelming situations
  • Unique diction, speech and tone, often speaking in an old-fashioned way
  • Difficulty adapting to rules and changes at school or in games
  • Trouble expressing feelings
  • Having particular or unconventional interests
  • Difficulty understanding or acknowledging what others think or feel

Trust MySpot Care for Early Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

With professional expertise, you can identify early autism signs in your child. At MySpot Care we understand the importance of early intervention for treating and caring for a child with autism. That's why we provide expert and comprehensive autism treatments, including speech, physical, occupational and ABA therapy.

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Our caring and compassionate therapists can help you accurately diagnose autism and provide your child with specialized coping strategies and skills. Contact us online to request an appointment today.