Autism Home > Autism Symptoms

Distinctive autism signs and symptoms include difficulties with social interaction, problems with communication, and repetitive behaviors. A baby with symptoms may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. Symptoms may include engaging in repetitive movements, such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior, such as biting or head-banging.

Autism Symptoms: An Overview

There are three distinctive symptoms of autism:
  • Difficulties with social interaction
  • Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests.
Autistic children can also develop symptoms that include reduced sensitivity to pain but increased sensitivity to sound, touch, or other sensory stimulation. Symptoms can range from mild to disabling.

Symptoms of Autism: Social Interaction

The hallmark symptom of autism is impaired social interaction. Parents are usually the first to notice possibly symptoms in their child.
As early as infancy, a baby with autism symptoms may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time.
A child with autism may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

Autism Symptoms: Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

The second most common symptom of autism is problems with verbal and nonverbal communication.
Children with autism may fail to respond to their name and often avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can't understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don't watch other people's faces for clues about appropriate behavior. They lack empathy.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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