Signs and Symptoms of Autism
Including Signs of Autism in Infants and Young Children

Signs and Symptoms of Autism - Since autism is a disorder and not a disease, it is not entirely accurate to refer to "symptoms" of autism. Instead, there is a range of autism and behavior patterns that indicate autism. Signs of autism may appear during infancy, and the disorder is usually diagnosed by the time the child is 3 years old.

Sometimes the child's behavior appears normal until 18 months to 2 years, and then regresses rapidly. This is referred to as "regressive autism". Signs and symptoms of autism occur in various combinations and range from mild to severe. We have put together a list below.

Signs of Autism in Infants

  • Abnormal reactions to sensory stimuli
  • Resists cuddling, hugging or affection
  • Lack of response to others
  • Indifferent to surroundings
  • Sleep disorders
  • Lack of interest in playing with toys
  • Appears content to be alone
  • Does not point out objects of interest
  • Inconsolable crying or screaming

Signs of Autism in Young Children

  • Apparent hearing problems
  • Uses gestures instead of words
  • Does not respond to name
  • No eye contact
  • Unaware of toys
  • Repetitive use of words or phrases (echolalia)
  • Does not smile
  • Loss of communication and verbal skills at any age
  • Age 16 months with no word use
  • Age 2 years with no two word sentences

Signs of Autism in Children

  • Is not interested in other people and prefers to be alone
  • Resists changes in routine
  • Repeats actions (turning in circles, flapping their arms, rocking, head banging)
  • Tendency to withdraw from social interactions
  • Heightened activity, or very little activity
  • Toe-walking
  • Uneven motor skills
  • Innappropriate attachment to objects
  • Frequent behavioral outbursts, tantrums
  • Seizures
  • Learning difficulties
  • Reduced or increased sensitivity to pain
  • Resistance to touch
  • Abnormally sensitive to sounds, smells, bright lights, or other sensory stimulation
  • No interactive play with other children
  • Lacks empathy
  • Has difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling

Diagnostic Criteria for Autism (DSM IV-TR)

In order to make a formal diagnosis of Autism, the following signs and symptoms must be present:

Impairment in social interaction

1. Lack of eye contact, facial expressions and social gestures

Failure to develop peer relationships

Does not seek out social interaction

Lack of social or emotional reciprocity

Impairment in communication skills

1. Language delay or absence

Inability to initiate and sustain conversation

Stereotyped or 'strange' use of language

Lack of make believe or social play

Restricted, stereotyped & repetitive behavior, interests and activities

1. Abnormally intense preoccupation with certain activities or areas of interest

Inflexible insistence on certain nonfunctional rituals or routines

Stereotyped and repetitive movements ie. hand flapping, preoccupation with parts of objects

To make the diagnosis at least 6 of the above markers must be noted, as well as developmental delays in at least one of the following areas:

1. Delayed or abnormal social interaction

Delay or abnormal use of language in social interaction

Delay or absence in symbolic or imaginative play

Please note that many healthy children will display some of these symptoms, this does not make them autistic! the symptoms above can range from mild to severe.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no known single cause for autism, and there is also no known single cure. While there are many different theories about the best course of treatment for addressing signs and symptoms of autism, most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention begins, the better the child can be helped.

What To Do?

We recommend targeted nutritional supplements in conjunction with a safe detoxification protocol as a simple, non-invasive way to further your child's potential.

In a large number of cases, the environmental trigger for symptoms along the autism spectrum can be traced to the overload of toxicity that the child has been exposed to, particularly heavy metals.

Highly Recommended: We suggest you consider having a hair tissue mineral analysis done to find out which heavy metals the body is high in and which essential minerals the body is deficient in. This test can provide you with much-needed information about mineral ratios that can be toxic and causing imbalances in your child's body.

Visit or return to our Autism page using Natural Therapies for children on the spectrum.

View our Test Your Child For Toxic Metals page.

Additional Useful Information for Parents of
Children on The Autism Spectrum

Test Your Child for Toxic Metals
Testing your child for heavy and toxic metals is extremely important, and highly recommended. It will give you much needed info about your child's body. 
More info on heavy metal testing

The ABCs of Autism
Autism is a disorder which is marked by impairments in social skills, behavior, and speech. Children with autism are often withdrawn, lack emotion and speech, and are extremely sensitive to sound and touch. 
More info on what is autism

Signs & Symptoms of Autism
Since autism is a disorder and not a disease, it is not entirely accurate to refer to "symptoms" of autism. Instead, there is a range of signs and behavior patterns that indicate autism. 
More info on signs of autism

Diets for Autism
Find out what diets can help your child in their recovery process.
Click for details


Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) that was first identified by physician Hans Asperger in 1944, but was only added to the DSM-IV in 1994.

As a result, many children have been misdiagnosed with Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and even Schizophrenia. 
More info on Asperger's Syndrome

Autism & Mercury Poisoning
There is now a great deal of information available that tells us in no uncertain terms that toxic metals and chemicals are a causative factor in many cases of autistic spectrum disorders.  These would include harmful toxins such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, insecticides and pesticides
More info on Autism and
mercury poisoning

Resources for Parents
A list of autism resources for parents and caregivers of an Autistic, Asperger's Syndrome, or PDD child: 
More resources for Autism, Asperger's, and PDD

Thank you for visiting our page on Signs and Symptoms of Autism!