Many parents recognize the signs of autism long before they know what they mean or receive a diagnosis.
There are several definitive patterns of behavior that might indicate the presence of autism:
- Sensory Hypersensitivity (could be sensitive on any or all sensory channels)
- Repetitive behaviors (commonly called stimming) like chewing, hand-flapping, rocking, spinning the wheels on a truck, or twirling.
- Hyper behavior or constant motion (like pacing).
- One area of specific interest or behavior that becomes a fixation
- Routines and rituals that are required to remain the same for the individual to stay calm (difficulty with change).
Each individual displaying signs of autism might look differently. Autism is not a one-size-fits-all definition.
Other criteria that have in the past commonly been thought to be signs of autism, but in fact are NOT diagnostic are:
- Inability to make eye contact
- Introverted Personality
- Desire to always be on the computer or internet
In general, many people with autism appear to be angry all the time, trying to control their environment, or they may simply appear very quirky and odd.
A trained diagnostician (if you can find one) is the only certain way to sift through the individual’s presentation of symptoms to determine if autism is an appropriate diagnosis.