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Preoccupation with certain objects or subjects, inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals, and impaired ability to make friends with peers may be early autism signs. Other indications include absence or impairment of imaginative and social play and an impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others. Because these early signs can vary in severity and symptoms, they may go unrecognized.

Early Signs of Autism: An Introduction

Autism varies widely in its severity and symptoms. Because of this, early signs may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps.
 

Possible Early Autism Signs

Doctors rely on a core group of early signs to alert them to the possibility of a diagnosis of autism.
 
These early signs of autism can include:
 
  • Impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • Impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • Inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
  • Absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • Stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • Restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • Preoccupation with certain objects or subjects.
     
(Click Autism Symptoms for more information about these early indications or click Diagnosing Autism for more information about how doctors use these early signs to reach a diagnosis.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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