What are the 10 Most Common Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

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Though there is no definitive test for autism, some of the most common signs are: lacking in eye contact, difficulty engaging with others and social communication skills that involve understanding facial expressions. As more people get diagnosed as autistic or on the ASD spectrum, there’s been increased awareness surrounding symptoms like these

The “what are the 3 main symptoms of autism” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to this question is that there are 10 most common signs of ASD. They are as follows:
1. Difficulty recognizing facial expressions
2. Trouble with social interactions
3. A lack of interest in trying new things

There are Many Different Autism Symptoms and Signs.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder exhibit a variety of autistic symptoms (ASD). Although both infants and adults may be affected by autism, the signs generally become apparent by the time a youngster is between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Due to its propensity for developing within the first two years of life, autism is classified as a developmental condition. However, this does not mean that it cannot be detected at a later date, such as in adolescence or even in adulthood. autism spectrum disorder first appears in young children. Each person with autism is different and may benefit from a tailored intervention plan for their health, behavior, and mental health since there are so many different autism symptoms that can vary from moderate to severe. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that significant research has shown that people with autism seem to have distinct brain development than their counterparts without ASD. The difficulties that people with autism experience are caused by this discrepancy in brain development.

Although the handicap associated with autism spectrum condition is permanent, this does not exclude living a full life. If a treatment strategy and intervention are put in place by experts like a therapist or applied Behavior Analyst symptoms may be controlled. Such queries as “Is head shaking an indicator of autism?” may come to mind. or “Is my child tossing their heads back an autistic symptom?” You may read more about the ten symptoms of autism spectrum disorder that occur most often in this article. 

The following are the top 10 signs of autism:

  1. delays in development of learning
  2. Over or under sensitivity to noises, touch, tastes, lighting, etc.
  3. Having trouble communicating
  4. repetitive acts and motions
  5. Problems with social settings
  6. Inability to transition
  7. dependence on unexpected interests
  8. inability to comprehend emotions
  9. persistent issues with sleep
  10. lack of impulse control

It’s crucial to remember that adults and children with autism exhibit different symptoms from one another. As kids age into adolescence and eventually adults, autism symptoms and indicators may also alter.

Top 25 Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Programs Online

1. delays in development of learning

Autism can impact a child’s development.  Some individuals with autism spectrum disorder can also have delays in development of learning, such as a specific learning disability or might be behind on meeting developmental milestones.   For example, someone may have difficulty learning basic skill concepts such as personal hygiene or following simple one to two-step directions. There are specific “red flags” at each stage of a child’s development that parents, teachers, and doctors should be aware of that may signify an issue. These early signs or “red flags” may appear suddenly or over a period of time. 

The CDC provides a few early indicators that anything potentially developmental may be occurring: 

  • unable to use basic toys (such as pegboards, simple puzzles, turning handles)
  • does not use whole sentences
  • can not comprehend basic commands
  • doesn’t engage in imaginary play or fantasy
  • refuses to play with toys or with other kids.
  • avoids making eye contact
  • loses his former abilities

2. An imbalance in sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and taste

Autism is characterized by an excessive sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as loud sounds, bright lights, or the texture of certain textiles. When compared to someone without autism, the brain’s capacity to comprehend incoming physical cues operates differently. Because of this, people with autism often feel overwhelmed. This deluge of information may be intimidating, perplexing, or just plain annoying.

Other indications of autism could include a preference for a bland diet and an inability to handle strong food flavors. Or their skin may have become more sensitive, making it difficult for them to tolerate contact properly.

A person with autism may be undersensitive to their surroundings on the opposite end of the spectrum. They could be unable to interpret different stimuli and show immunity to things that others would find uncomfortable. Examples of this include autistic children stimming, beating their heads, or requesting a weighted vest. 

3. Communication Skills Challenges

A kid should be able to reply to basic orders by nodding their head “yes” or “no” in response to a straightforward inquiry by the time they are 12 to 15 months old. They need to be attempting to utter words like “mama” or “dada” at this age. Even tiny words like “yes” or “uh-oh,” which kids constantly hear, may start to be imitated by them. Children who exhibit symptoms of autism spectrum disorder may have linguistic problems. They can stop speaking altogether or start going longer stretches without saying anything. Even those they love and trust can find it difficult to talk to them. 

Understanding gestures and interpreting facial expressions, maintaining eye contact, paying attention to speech tones, and reading facial emotions are all part of communication. The social and intellectual growth of a kid strongly influences their capacity to communicate generally. 

4. repetitive acts and motions

Autism may be indicated by repetitive motions and actions including shaking the head, a leg, or an arm on purpose, creating purposeful facial expressions, or pulling hair. A head thumping or other repeated habit is often seen with autism head shaking. Is hair pulling an indicator of autism, as some parents may wonder? Although pulling one’s hair may be an indication of autism, this would not always mean that someone has an ASD.  

“Repetitive behaviors are divided into two classes by scientists. Movements like fiddling with items, body swaying, and vocalizations like grunting or repeating sentences are examples of so-called “lower-order” repetitive activities. Autism features including routines and rituals, fixation on sameness, and obsessive interests are examples of “higher-order” repetitive behaviors. (Spear News) 

You may want to discuss your child’s behavior patterns with their doctor if you observe that they often engage in specific repeated behaviors that are not suitably tied to the activity they are completing or the environment they are in.  

5. Problems with social settings

Having a hard time interacting with people is one of the more obvious signs of autism. When put in an overstimulating social situation, people with autism spectrum condition tend to shut down in both children and adults. They are sometimes wrongly classified as “loners” or introverts. Those who identify as “loners” like to spend time alone and prefer their own company to other people’s.

A person must have consistent deficiencies in these three areas, according The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), in order to be given an autism diagnosis:

  • social initiation and response issues
  • eye contact and other nonverbal communication issues
  • issues with social consciousness, social insight, and the idea of social ties in general

When put in a setting that calls for social contact, people with autism spectrum disorder often struggle to relate to others. They may choose to shut off their surroundings as a coping mechanism.

These social skill issues have their roots in some of the fundamental characteristics of ASD:

  • delayed and challenging spoken language acquisition
  • incapacity to interpret nonverbal signals
  • Obsessive or repetitive habits as well as a strong desire to stick to a set pattern
  • a surplus of sensory information

Because of this, social skills training is a crucial component of autism therapy. 

6. Inability to transition

Most people with autism spectrum condition believe they must follow a certain regimen. People with autism find comfort in knowing the proper sequence in which daily chores should be completed. A regular, self-controlled routine may calm a nervous mind. Life is seldom predictable, however. Unexpected occurrences might disrupt daily routines. Distress may result from even minor scheduling disruptions. Some persons with autism experience anxiety at major life changes like beginning school or finishing college because they feel out of control. This individual could have a panic attack or “meltdown” if they have not been taught self-regulation. 

For instance, it’s crucial for the instructor to use in a classroom with students who have autism spectrum disorders:

  • timers
  • reminders
  • visuals
  • societal narratives

They use these to communicate transitions and changes to the daily schedule. Storyboards and societal narratives can easily be made online or ordered through a particular ASD educational site. They can be tailored to fit each unique situation and need that the child may have. 

These adult autism symptoms may also be treated similarly. Adults at work can need help managing their time. Someone with autism spectrum disorder who requires assistance at work could benefit from having their day divided into regular intervals. They may need more information than just the fact that they will be working from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be effective.

7. dependence on unexpected interests

An keen interest in uncommon items or subjects that borders on obsession is one of the simplest signs of autism in kids and adults to see. For instance, a person with autism may like the following things:

  • trains
  • stamps
  • recording devices
  • bottling caps
  • spoons

Autism spectrum disorder sufferers are aware of their preferences and don’t give a damn whether they look “uncool.” They may also be very devoted, spending a great deal of time on their passions. They often become authorities on subjects they find interesting. One of the main signs of autism in adulthood is this. People with autism spectrum condition devote limitless amounts of energy to honing their interest, whether it be sketching or playing video games. There is nothing wrong with the majority of autistic kids and adults who want to pursue these hobbies on their own! 

8. inability to comprehend emotions

10 Symptoms of Autism-emotionsDespite widespread misconceptions to the contrary, individuals with autism experience emotions just like everyone else. Simply put, they have trouble deciphering and comprehending emotions. It may be challenging for someone with autism spectrum disorder to interpret emotions from body language and facial expressions. Raised eyebrows and shrugs are common social signs that people with ASD may not grasp. They struggle to pick up on emotions or sarcasm from a person’s verbal tone. It might be difficult to detect rage, fear, contempt, and astonishment. As a result, persons with ASD often misinterpret circumstances and respond incorrectly. A person with autism spectrum condition has trouble expressing their own feelings and feeling empathy for others.

Young children with autism need to be supported in their emotional development by their parents, teachers, and therapists; it is preferable to begin intervention as soon as possible. 

Two suggestions for emotional awareness games from Raising Children are:

  • When you are reading a book, watching a movie, or going to see friends with your kid, you may point out emotions. You can also label emotions in situations that occur naturally. You may say, “Look at Sally smiling,” for instance. She is content.
  • Be receptive; for instance, you may remark, “You’re smiling, therefore you must be glad,” in response to your child’s feelings. You may also exaggerate your own feelings by saying things like, “I’m SO delighted! Please high five me.

9. persistent issues with sleep

10 symptoms of autism-sleepNearly 80% of children with autism spectrum disorder have a co-occurring chronic sleep disturbance, and people with autism are twice as likely to regularly have sleeplessness, according to Autism Speaks Typically, they have trouble getting to sleep and remaining asleep for the advised eight hours each night. Unfortunately, getting too little sleep might exacerbate other ASD symptoms. People with ASD who lack sleep exhibit more repetitive behaviors and learning deficits. 

According to Spectrum News, “Sleep may also be less restorative for persons with autism than it is for those in the general population. The rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is essential for memory and learning, takes up around 15% of their total sleep duration. By contrast, the majority of neurotypical persons spend around 23% of their nightly sleep in REM.

Why is it so tough to fall asleep? One explanation is that people with autism spectrum condition are more sensitive to noise and light. Both kids and adults with ASD might wake up right away at the smallest sound. As many individuals with ASD also have ADHD or OCD, they could also have restless, agitated thoughts that are hard to calm down for sleep. Clinicians often prescribe melatonin to help autistic patients sleep better.

Related Article: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep for a Child with Autism

10. lack of impulse control

Last but not least, people with autism spectrum condition tend to lack the ability to regulate their impulses. Due to executive functioning problems, people with autism often act without first thinking things through. 

The group of cognitive abilities that control higher-order thinking abilities are collectively referred to as executive function in psychology. These abilities include:

  • Organization and preparation
  • management of time
  • Behavioral restraint
  • Multitasking
  • Problem-solving and reasoning

Young people with autism may disobey their parents’ or caregivers’ wishes and behave whatever they like. For instance, they could snag products they like at shops, interrupt a discussion to talk, or abandon a job at work or school to do something else they prefer. Many kids with ASD don’t want to share and often take things back. Poor impulse control is unquestionably one of the autistic symptoms that need treatment.

Future success depends on recognizing these 10 signs of autism early and taking appropriate action. Waiting to act might increase the probability of serious deficiencies, such as:

  • cognitive limitations
  • lowered emotional or social intelligence
  • behavioral difficulties
  • Having trouble communicating or speaking slowly

These symptoms can be controlled, and many autistic kids may pick up new routines, habits, and methods of expressing themselves with the aid of:

  • parents
  • teachers
  • ABA practitioners

Contact your child’s doctor if you think they may be showing signs of autism. They may recommend several categories of professionals, such as:

  • Child development specialists
  • psychologists for kids
  • Services for Early Intervention

Parental tools and information may be found in abundance via organizations like Autism Speaks. Help is available, and early treatment is essential.

Programs for ABA Help Staff

January 2022 revision


The “signs of an autistic child at age 2” is a sign that your child may be on the spectrum. The 10 most common signs of autism are: not making eye contact, having trouble communicating, being overly sensitive to certain sounds or textures, and being obsessed with one particular interest.

Related Tags

  • what is autism spectrum disorder
  • autism spectrum disorder symptoms
  • signs of autism in adults
  • what causes autism
  • early signs of autism

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