Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition characterized by a range of symptoms that affect social interaction, communication, and behavior. While the presentation of autism can vary widely from one individual to another, there are three main symptoms commonly observed in a pediatric autism center:

Impaired social interaction:

One of the hallmark symptoms of autism in children is difficulty with social interaction. This can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Challenges with nonverbal communication: Children with autism may struggle to understand and use nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language to communicate. They may have difficulty making eye contact or understanding the emotions of others based on their facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Limited social engagement: Children with autism often show limited interest in interacting with peers or adults. They may prefer solitary activities and struggle to initiate or sustain conversations or play interactions with others.
  • Difficulty with social reciprocity: Another common symptom is a difficulty in engaging in reciprocal social interactions. Children with autism may have trouble taking turns during conversations or activities, sharing interests or emotions with others, and understanding social norms or expectations.

Impaired communication:

Communication difficulties are another key feature of autism in children. These challenges can include:

  • Delayed language development: Some children with autism may experience delays in the development of spoken language. Others may exhibit echolalia, repeating words or phrases heard previously, without necessarily understanding their meaning.
  • Difficulty with social communication: Children with autism may have difficulty using language for social purposes, such as initiating and maintaining conversations, understanding sarcasm or jokes, or engaging in imaginative play.
  • Use of unusual language patterns: Some children with autism may exhibit unusual language patterns, such as speaking in a monotone voice, repeating certain phrases or words obsessively (known as perseveration), or using overly formal or advanced language for their age.

Restricted and repetitive behaviors:

Children with autism often engage in repetitive behaviors or have narrow, restricted interests. These behaviors may include:

  • Repetitive motor movements: Children with autism may engage in repetitive movements such as hand-flapping, rocking, spinning, or pacing.
  • Ritualistic behaviors: Some children with autism develop rigid routines or rituals and become distressed if these routines are disrupted.
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