Autism Home > Early Symptoms of Autism

In mildly affected children or when masked by more debilitating handicaps, early symptoms of autism may go unrecognized. Healthcare providers rely on a core group of early symptoms to alert them to a possible autism diagnosis. Examples of early autism symptoms include repetitive or unusual use of language and patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus.

Early Symptoms of Autism: An Overview

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

A List of Early Autism Symptoms

Healthcare providers often rely on a core group of early symptoms to alert them to the possibility of a diagnosis of autism.
 
These early symptoms of autism can include:
 
  • Impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • Impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • 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
  • Inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals.
     
(Click Autism Symptoms for more information. Click Diagnosing Autism to read more about how healthcare providers use early symptoms of autism to reach a diagnosis.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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