Autism Signs in Children
A child with autism may have problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, difficulties with social interactions and narrow obsessive interests or repetitive behaviors. These are the three distinctive behaviors which distinguish a child with autism from a normal child. These behaviors can be mild to disabling in different children. Although autism signs may differ with each child, a hallmark sign for autism is impaired social interaction. Parents are the first ones who usually notice the autism early signs in their child. Autism signs can be detected as early as in infancy when a baby is not responsive to sounds of people or focus intentionally on other objects like a toy for a long period of time. In some cases a child develops normally for some years and then suddenly has a different behavior, get withdrawn and become indifferent to social interaction.
Children with autism may avoid eye contact with other people and also not respond to their names when called. They are unable to understand social cues so may have difficulty in perceiving what others feel or think. For example a normal child may relate a smiling face to a happy emotion or being friendly, but a child with autism may have trouble connecting the smile with a happy feeling. They lack empathy and can not relate themselves with others.
Many children with autism show signs of destructive behaviors like head banging or biting. They may also be engaged in repetitive movements like twirling, rocking or flapping hands. They may prefer using their name to refer themselves in the sentences which they speak instead of using the word 'Me' or 'I'. Children with autism also start speaking late than other children and they don't know how to play or interact with other children. They have a narrow range of selected topics on which they talk in a different tone like a robot or like singsong tone. They are also very selective to whom they are speaking with regards to their interests.
Many children are abnormally sensitive to sound and touch, but experience reduced sensitivity to pain. This is the reason they don't prefer people cuddling or hugging them and often close their ears with hands when exposed to loud sounds.
A child with autism may have a higher risk of developing some co-existing conditions like fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and Tourette syndrome. Researches show that almost 20-30 % children with autism tend to develop epileptic seizure by the time they reach adulthood. However the cause for this remains unclear.