How Do I Know If My Child Is Autistic?

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Autism has been misunderstood for decades. However, spurred by those with autism and other activists, more and more people are learning about the disorder and changing how it is viewed in society.

Today, autism is known as “autism spectrum disorder” or “ASD.” While classified as a developmental disability, many autistic activists are redefining autism, preferring to refer to it as a different neurotype as a subcategory of neurodivergence.

Because autism is a spectrum, it impacts everyone differently. Some people may be non-verbal and have more difficulties with daily activities, while others may be able to function with less assistance.

As autism continues to be researched and understood, many parents want to support their children through resources. The first step in helping your child is identifying if they have this neurotype.

In this guide, you’ll learn some common signs that a child is autistic.

Getting A Diagnosis

While this guide can help you identify signs of autism in children, it’s not a diagnostic tool. The information is meant to be as accurate as possible, but the only way for your child to get an official diagnosis is by working with a trained medical professional or therapist specializing in autism.

It’s also worth noting that signs of autism in adults are somewhat different, so adults looking for these resources can check out this article.

Potential Signs Your Child Is Autistic

It’s crucial to group these signs based on age. For some children, autistic traits present more strongly at an earlier age, but for some children, signs of autism may not show up until they get older.

Some of the most common signs of autism in young children include:

  • Being less talkative and verbal than other children
  • Performing repetitive movements like rocking back and forth or clapping their hands
  • Getting upset because of sensory input, such as a specific taste or a loud noise.
  • Avoiding eye contact

While these aren’t the only signs of autism in younger children, they are some of the more common.

For older children, be aware of the following signs and behaviors:

  • Repeating certain phrases over and over
  • Talking a lot about specific interests, often known as “special interests”
  • Getting upset if their daily routine changes
  • Struggling to make friends
  • Difficulties identifying how others are thinking and feeling
  • Avoiding demands or acting out when told what to do

Once again, remember that this list is simply a resource to help parents take steps to support their children.

Are There Gender Differences In Signs Of Autism?

While many of the common traits of autism are the same for boys and girls, there are some generalities that tend to present more in boys than girls, and vice versa. Note that girls are often underdiagnosed compared to boys, so it’s vital to know some of the differences.

Many stereotypes surrounding autism, such as that children will have no social skills or act out aggressively, aren’t true, especially in girls.

Some things to beware of when it comes to autistic girls include that:

  • They may be better at copying their peers’ behavior or “masking” in social settings.
  • They may have less repetitive behaviors or have more socially acceptable special interests.
  • They may be more likely to withdraw when upset.

Find Resources For Your And Your Child

If you think your child might be autistic, the next step is finding resources in your area. There are many more options than ever before, but your first step should be to find a licensed therapist or doctor in your area.

They can likely direct you to further resources for your child, yourself, and your family.