Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may be seen when your child is still a baby. It most often appears before 3 years old (mainly from 18 to 24 months). The severity of symptoms is different for each child. Children with ASD may show a combination of behaviors. ASD is a lifelong condition.

Children grow and change rapidly at this early stage. A child may also regress from previous achievements or they may not progress at all. Your child may have problems achieving normal social and developmental milestones.

Differences may be seen in:

  • Social skills
  • Communication
  • Repetitive behaviors or unusual activities
  • Processing sensory information

These differences may be seen in a wide range of behaviors such as:

  • Not making eye contact
  • Not responding to their name
  • Not imitating others
  • Little or no speaking
  • Wants to play alone
  • Little interaction or listening to others
  • Aggression
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tantrums—can be with little or no prodding
  • Using language in unusual ways
  • Repetitive behaviors—may spend hours with a single activity over and over again such as rocking or flapping a hand
  • May stare at certain objects for a long time
  • Overreact to small changes in their environment
  • Sensitivity to sound, smell, taste, sights, and touch
  • Feeling pain from a light touch, but ignoring more severe pain
  • Experiencing sounds as colors, and touches as sounds

Trust what you feel. Call your child's doctor if you have any worries about their development. Children and their families may benefit from early, intense intevention.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2018 -
  • Update Date: 08/19/2019 -