Some children with Autism Spectrum disorder may demonstrate neurodevelopmental delays early in life, while others appear to develop typically until the age of 18-30 months, when delays or regression in language, play or social interaction are suspected.

Frequently observed characteristics of those with ASD include:

Language develops slowly or may not develop at all. Some Autistics may use sounds exhibiting echolalia (the repetition of words and phrases articulated to them); they may also communicate with gestures or behaviors rather than words. Conversely, as in Asperger Syndrome, language may be advanced for their age, as in where children may display a “Little Professor” manner of speaking; while older children and adults may have a stilted manner of speech. Also, Asperger persons may be challenged taking turns in conversation or they may dominate the conversation if an area of interest.

May be unusually sensitive (hyper-sensitive) or notably insensitive (hypo-sensitive) to sights, sounds, textures, tastes and touch. May cover the ears or become distressed by sounds and light; may eat a very limited range of food.; may seem unaware of personal space, surroundings or situations.

May seem more comfortable alone rather than with others. May not respond to name but responds to other sounds. May show lack of appropriate eye contact. May seem unaware of others or treat others as objects. May prefer parallel play (not engaging with others but playing next to them) versus interactive play. May show limited understanding of social cues and-or personal space.

May be overactive or very passive. May not respond to or may object to being picked up or cuddled. May perseverate (show an obsessive interest in one item, idea or person). May display a lack of sense of danger. Can show aggression to others or self. May be resistant or object to changes in routine.

May lack spontaneous or imaginative play and may not initiate pretend games. May prefer to use toys in odd ways, such as aligning them or spinning objects (i.e., spinning wheels on a toy car instead of pretending to drive}. May prefer to play with odd objects instead of conventional toys.

Some Autistics may display great interest and-or talent in one area. While it’s a common belief that all persons with Autism have a savant skill or “genius” in an area, such savant displays are extremely rare. More often, persons with Autism have a “special interest,” which can include obsession with unusual interests or items, such as string, fans or train schedules.