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What are common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects brain development, impacting how children perceive the world and interact with others. Although there is much more to learn, researchers have made great strides in identifying and normalizing various symptoms. 

As you research, keep this in mind: symptoms of autism in children present differently in everyone, and your child’s symptoms may be more or less severe than other children their age. Avoid comparing your child’s symptoms to another child’s, and speak with a licensed physician or psychiatrist if you believe your child or family member has ASD.

It’s important to take action after speaking with a doctor. Research shows that children who are diagnosed and receive early intensive treatment for ASD are more likely to learn essential life skills and form better, deeper relationships. Once your child has been diagnosed with ASD, come see us at Therapeutic Pathways. Our individualized treatment programs are rooted in data-driven research and are designed to help your child thrive.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Many of the symptoms associated with ASD are related to social interaction, communication, and repetitive behavior. The evidence-based autism treatment at Therapeutic Pathways provides aid to  the following list of symptoms ; it is not a comprehensive list of symptoms of autism in children and you should always speak with a doctor for a diagnosis.

Social Symptoms

  • Makes little or no eye contact
  • Doesn’t respond when someone calls their name or speaks to them
  • Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
  • Speaks in an unusual tone of voice, such as sing-song or flat and robot-like
  • Lacks facial expression or makes facial expressions that don’t match the situation
  • Fails to point or show objects to others
  • Has difficulty starting or holding conversation
  • Enters conversation inappropriately, i.e. with aggressive or disruptive behavior
  • Has difficulty recognizing and responding to nonverbal cues, i.e. other’s facial expressions or posture

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Making repetitive movements (spinning, rocking, flapping hands)
  • Performing self-harming behaviors such as biting or head-banging
  • Repeating words or phrases (echolalia)
  • Has an intense interest in certain topics such as mechanics or an era in history
  • Being overly focused on certain objects, such as moving or spinning parts of a toy
  • Getting upset by a change in routine, even if it seems small
  • Being more or less sensitive than others to light, sound, touch, and temperature
  • Only eats specific foods or refuses to eat foods with a certain texture

Other Symptoms

  • Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little or not being able to fall asleep)
  • Irritability
  • Mood disorders
  • Hyperactivity
  • Having a short attention span
  • Temper tantrums

Individuals with ASD have unique challenges in life, but they also have countless strengths. For example, many people with ASD are extremely talented in the areas of math, science, art, and music.

This is important to remember as you take steps to get a diagnosis and treatment for your child. Every person with autism spectrum disorder experiences different symptoms as well as different strengths and weaknesses. Be patient and thorough in your research, and know that there are many treatment options available for your loved one.

Treatment for ASD

It’s best to begin treatment for autism spectrum disorder as soon as possible after a diagnosis. Seeking early intervention is important as your child will learn coping skills to help them react more appropriately and reduce other difficulties they have. 

At Therapeutic Pathways we have resources for parents, caregivers, and teachers. Some of the treatment available for individuals with ASD include:

  • Medication
  • Behavior therapy
  • Educational therapy

Our treatment recommendations are based on a full assessment of your child’s unique needs. We will speak with you to decide the most beneficial frequency and duration of treatment. Therapeutic Pathways values family participation and provides training opportunities for parents and caregivers. 

For more information about our programs and centers, call (209) 422-3280 or visit our services page to find out more.