Understanding the Early Signs of Autism

Children with Autism display different signs and symptoms, with varying levels of difficulties and severity. As a parent, we often wonder ‘why?’ While the child may show some signs of progress in the beginning, signs and symptoms of Autism may soon surface. While the ‘why’ has not been fully answered, the main cause of Autism is linked to damage to the brain that alters and slows down progress. Certain areas of the brain may show reduced function that may affect the learning, understanding, memory or other physical and cognitive abilities.


The early signs of Autism can be gauged in different environments. A person on the Autism spectrum shows difficulty in social interactions, communication abilities, behavior issues and certain physical attributes. As a parent, or as a caregiver it is extremely important to understand these signs to ensure the best and appropriate treatment/therapy as soon as possible.


A child with Autism may show one or more combination of early signs of Autism. These early signs of Autism usually surface in the first three years. The signs may be classified as:


  • Social Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Behavioral Issues and Unusual Interests
  • Physical Attributes
  • Other Symptoms


It is thus necessary to analyze the child’s reactions and response to environment in different situations. Some of the most common early signs of Autism, include:


  • Poor eye contact
  • Delayed response to name
  • Isolated play
  • Unable to express feelings
  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Repetition of words/phrases/sentences
  • Obsessed with objects
  • Unusual fears
  • Too Tight or Too Loose muscles
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to touch, sound, taste, smell, look or feel


These are just some of the many early signs of Autism that a child may display. Many parents are often confused as the child ‘seemed normal in the beginning’. These early signs may progress and change over the first few years and that is why some signs may go unnoticed. The early signs of Autism are heterogeneous, i.e. no two individuals display exactly the same set of signs and symptoms. The severity and range of symptoms varies for every child on the spectrum and thus the required care and support varies too.


As a parent of a child with Autism, you need to study the early signs of Autism and receive immediate expert advice for best management and care.

Author: autismconnectassociation

Autism Connect is a voluntary group based in Mumbai, India formed by parents and professional care-takers of children on the autism spectrum. Parenting and caring for a child with autism is a special responsibility in itself. There are doubts, questions and uncertainties in our minds. At Autism Connect, we endeavor to collect literature on evidence based practices (with special emphasis on newer emerging therapies) in the management of autism and share it with autism associations and organizations across the world with the hope that these associations disseminate and distribute this to their members and parents of children with autism.

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