The symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) manifests during early childhood, between the age of one and two years. Sometimes, these symptoms may also appear earlier or later. Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development.
The symptoms of ASD are mostly divided into two groups:
To be diagnosed with autism, a person must experience symptoms in both of these categories.
ASD can involve a range of issues with communication, many of which appear before age 5. As they age, they might have difficulty talking or very limited speaking skills. Other autistic children might develop language skills at an uneven pace. If there’s a particular topic that’s very interesting to them, for example, they might develop a very strong vocabulary for talking about that one topic. But they might have difficulty communicating about other things.
As they interact with others, autistic children might have difficulty sharing their emotions and interests with others or find it hard to maintain back-and-forth conversation. Nonverbal communication, like maintaining eye contact or body language, might also remain difficult.
These challenges with communication can persist throughout adulthood.
In addition to the communication and social issues mentioned above, autism also includes symptoms related to body movements and behaviors.
These can include: