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An Initiative of National Trust
for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities
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Signs to look for in your child (2+ and above)

Persistent difficulties in communicating and interacting with other people in various situations
2-5 yrs Pre-school 6-10 yrs Primary School 11-16 yrs Middle school Adolescents and Adults
Has delayed speech compared to children of his age

Is unable to use facial expressions to convey emotions

Is not able to make simple two word combinations at two years

May have speech but it may be without expression monotonous, and mostly consisting of echoed words or phrases

May have had speech but now uses less and less language

Not interested in children his/her own age Prefers playing alone

May not like being hugged and cuddled

May use gestures to indicate what he wants

Doesn't understand social rules when interacting with others

Demonstrate behaviours which may seem aggressive or inappropriate ( e.g. hitting others )

Has an odd use of language especially in the usage of "you" instead of "I"

Repeats words or phrases mechanically

May have an unusual rhythm or tone to his/her speech

Has a difficulty in starting conversations unless it is a topic of his/her interest
Tends to talk 'at' or lecture people instead of having a to- and- fro conversation

Is unable to understand social rules in interactions e.g., being overly familiar with strangers, or not understanding the idea of another person's personal space e.g., by standing too close to them

Has unusual eye contact e.g. either too fleeting or staring too long

Is unable to understand jokes, sarcasms or figures of speech
The person is often socially isolated in a group

Finds it difficult to make friends
Narrow and repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities
Uses toys in an unusual way e.g. spinning wheels of a car, or lining up blocks

May have little or no pretend or make-believe play

Has a strong preoccupation with unusual objects e.g. pieces of thread, buttons

May echo words and phrases

Is overly sensitive or under-sensitive to sensory inputs such as sounds, pain or textures

Demonstrates unusual behaviours such as flicking fingers, flapping hands, rocking back and forth, sniffing objects

Has self harming behaviours ( such as biting, head banging)
Very focused on fixed routines Strong likes and dislikes for specific foods

May have very good skills in solving visual puzzles such as jigsaws
Narrow focus of interest which may limit the over all conversations

May collect unusual items e.g., straws Insistence on routines
Very comfortable with fixed routines and unhappy with unexpected change
Many of the signs from earlier age groups will continue in the older individual


  • NHS Choices www.nhs.uk
  • Textbook of AutismSpectrum Disorders. Ed. E. Hollander,A Kolevzon, J. Coyle; American Psychiatric Publishing Inc., 2011
  • Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. Simon Baron-Cohen
  Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD is commonly called Autism Neuro- typical: A term used for people who do not have Autism or ASD  
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