When it comes to their children, parents will do everything in their power to ensure that they are safe at all times and that they are doing to their very best to make sure that they stay that way. Parents never want or hope for something bad to happen to their kids and they certainly never expect them to have any medical issues.
When it comes to autism, there is no cure, and we do not really fully understand why or how it occurs yet.
Parenting is far from easy and it is hard to know what is normal and what is not normal especially for first-time parents. We can do all of the researching we want on the internet, but at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer to whether or not we are doing things right when it comes to parenting our children.
Autism is a mental condition that usually presents itself in early childhood and it prevents children from being able to communicate properly and form relationships.
There are a ton of signs and symptoms that accompany this condition, but it can be really hard to differentiate these as normal child behaviors or signs of the condition. So in this article, we compiled 15 of the most common signs of autism that most of the time are mistaken for something else altogether.
15 No Hand Gestures
At around the age of six months old, sooner or later for some babies, they should begin pointing at things, bringing things to their mouths, and even waving hello and goodbye.
While some kids may do this sooner than other kids, it is still something that all children should be doing long before their first birthday. However, if your child does reach their first birthday and they are not in the very least bringing things to their mouths and pointing at things, then this certainly is a cause for concern that should be brought up at their next appointment.
Some parents might end up mistaking this for a lazy child who just does not feel like doing these things, and while that could very well be true.
It is also a sign that the child might be autistic, something that you would want to find out sooner rather than later in order to get your child the appropriate help that they need as soon as possible so that they do not fall behind. If you ever have any concerns about whether or not your child is up to par with other kids, then a consult with the doctor couldn’t hurt one bit.
14 Doesn't Like To Be Cuddled
Anyone who has ever had a baby knows just how much we love to hold and cuddle our little ones, some of us try to do it as much as possible because we know that they do not stay little for very long.
Almost all babies love to be held and cuddled, especially by their moms, and skin to skin contact can actually have some health benefits for both mom and baby. However, if your baby seems to hate being held or cuddled and cries more when you pick them up and refuses to stop until you put them down, then it is safe to say that is definitely a worrisome sign.
Some parents might just mistake this for having a cranky or more independent baby.
But nine times out of ten this ends up being a sign that something is wrong with the baby, and it is one of the top signs that they could be autistic. There is nothing wrong with finding out that your baby is autistic, it just means that you have to treat them with a little more care than you would another child and learn what their triggers are as early as possible.
13 Won't Babble Or Coo
All babies and toddlers who are not yet talking make a ton of noises. Usually these noises are just cute little baby babbling and non-coherent sounds that we all love to hear.
There are some babies out there who are quieter than others though, and the parents of those babies might feel lucky to have been blessed with a good quiet child.
It can be cause for concern if a baby is not making any noises at all by at least six months old.
If your child has reached the six month mark, and you have never heard them babble, coo, or even whine, then this needs to be brought up at their next check up because it is a definite sign that something is wrong.
A baby who makes no sounds at all could be mute, and this would more than likely be caught well before the six month mark, but a baby who occasionally cries for food, but does nothing else could very well have other problems going on that should be figured out as soon possible so that they do not fall behind when it comes time for them to start talking and going to school.
12 Reacts Poorly To Certain Colors
Everyone has things in life that they do not like, especially when it comes to different foods, colors, tastes, and textures. This is especially true for small children, who seemed to love something one day and then hate it with a passion the next, it is totally normally to have things that we do not like. However, if you have a small toddler or baby is reacting very poorly to certain colors and textures, then this could be one sign of autism.
Normal reactions to things that a child does not like would be through them expressing that they do not like it, but if a child completely loses control and can not seem to calm down simply because the texture of something was different, then their doctor should be made aware of this as soon as possible.
Not all children who do this end up being autistic, but this coupled with even one or two other things from this list is a pretty big give away that they could be autistic and should be evaluated by their doctor as soon as possible.
In the meantime, however, while waiting for that doctor's appointment it would be a wise choice to try and avoid those things that you have come to learn as triggers for your child.
11 Can't Walk Without Getting Hurt
There is no doubt about the fact that all children seem to be clumsy; they are constantly falling, getting scrapes and bruises, and it usually seems to be boys more so than girls.
But there is actually a time where clumsiness can be a cause for concern. If your child can not seem to walk without getting themselves hurt in some way, then obviously it should be brought up to their doctor.
If your child also moves in an eccentric way, they sort of dance whenever they walk, then you might just blow this off as them being a typical kid or even as them being hyperactive when really it could be a sign of autism and should not be ignored. Children get into silly little accidents all of the time.
The majority of the time it is harmless, but when a child is constantly getting themselves hurt in one way or another, and it feels as though you can not take your eyes off of them for even a second, then this is not something that should ever be ignored. Something serious could be going on and you don’t ever want to push off something that could result in future issues for your child.
10 Loud Noises Upsets Him
There are some kids out there who simply do not like to hear loud noises. Sometimes the flushing of a toilet, a train passing by, or even something as simple as the vacuum running, can be frightening to them. Some moms might see this as totally normal, and it certainly can be, but it can also be a cause for concern.
If you notice that your child totally loses their cool when a dog barks, someone shuts a door loudly, flushes a toilet, or even beeps the horn of a car, then this is a pretty big sign that they could be autistic.
This is also a sign that there could be something wrong with their hearing, and that they are hearing things too loudly thus hurting their ears.
So if ever there is a doubt in your mind about whether or not your child’s behavior towards loud noises is normal or not, then consulting with their doctor is certainly the way to go because whether it autism or a hearing problem, you will want to address this issue as soon as possible for the sake of your child otherwise more problems could arise further down the road.
9 Doesn't Play With Other Kids
This next one is aimed more towards toddlers and young children who have the opportunity, whether it be through school or simply going to the playground, to interact with other children. Most of the time children enjoy playing with other children, as long as they are in a good mood and not feeling cranky or ready for a nap.
Some kids do tend to be a little shyer than others, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. If you have a child, however, who do not show interest in other children at all, then this could be a sign of something a little more serious. This could be mistaken for just having an antisocial child, or it could even be looked as an early sign of anxiety, but not having even the slightest bit of interest in other children can be a sign for autism that most parents should be on the watch out for.
Most people whose children are autistic usually end up finding out way before this mark, but if the other signs have been disregarded as something else as well, then it is possible to not catch on to this until they are slightly older.
8 Focuses On One Thing For A Long Period Of Time
Let’s be honest here, children seem to have the attention span of a goldfish, they are constantly moving onto new things and can never seem to stay still for very long.
For parents whose kids do become very focused on something and are able to stay still and quiet for a while, they might feel lucky. Maybe they just have a really good kid.
They could be right to think that, but there still could be a reason for concern as well. If your child seems to become fixated on things for a long period of time such as movies, the wheel of a toy car, or even a ceiling fan, then there might be some cause for concern. This is more so if they seem to be spacing out when focusing on these things, and doing so for a prolonged period of time.
Sometimes when this happens it can be difficult to get their attention, and you might have to step into their line of vision to break this intense focus. Some parents could easily mistake this for their child being very interested in something, but if the focus is this intense, then their doctor should be notified.
7 Doesn't Understand Simple Directions
This next one can be a little tricky, mainly because even though our children totally hear what we are saying to them and understand it fully, they still like to pretend that they don’t understand the words that are coming out of our mouths when we tell them to clean up after themselves.
How convenient right? So if your child doesn’t seem to be following simple directions, such as "put your shoes on", it may seem totally normal.
Nine times out of ten it is normal, but there are cases where this, when coupled with other signs, can be a sign that your child might have autism.
If you can literally never get your child to follow even the simplest of task, even if it is a task that would benefit them, then this could be a sign of many things, autism just being one of them. It can be hard to tell the difference between when this is normal and when it is not, so like anything else it is important to just trust your gut and talk to your child’s doctor. Don’t worry about sounding like an overly paranoid parent either, because if there is ever a concern in your mind, it is there for a reason, and the doctor is always there to help.
6 Never Tries To Get Your Attention
If there is anything that gets on our nerves as parents, it is the constant nagging and whining. We love our kids with all of our hearts, but hearing “mom” be called about 100 times in the course of half an hour can be very tiresome.
It turns out though, that we should not be taking this for granted, because it just goes to show us that our child is progressing in life normally and that we don’t have as much to worry about.
A parent should however be concerned if their child never tries to get their attention for anything at all. Let’s be honest, kids love attention in fact, they tend to crave it. So when a child has no interest in getting their mom and dad’s attention to see what they are doing or even to show them something cool that they see, then there is a cause for concern.
Some parents might think that they just got lucky and have a laid back child, but that usually is not the case. This can be signs of other things as well, but when exhibited in young children who have only ever been around their parents, it is typically a sign of autism.
5 Not Easily Comforted
There is no doubt about the fact that children love to throw fits about the smallest of things, they truly can drive us crazy with how out of control they can be, but apparently how well they get over that tantrum is apparently much more important than we first realized.
If a child who is in the middle of a temper tantrum cannot be comforted, then it is a wise idea to give them their own space and let them find ways to cope with it themselves. However, if your child is never able to be comforted, takes a very long time to calm down, freaks out when you try to touch them, or can’t be near you during this tantrum, then there is a small chance that they could be exhibiting a sign of autism.
This is not the case for all children, but it is something to take into consideration. If your child seems to be mad all of the time, can not calm down, or doesn’t want to be around anyone then it is safe to say that they should evaluated, just to be sure that nothing more serious is going on with them.
4 Questionable Facial Expressions
When it comes to babies, their facial expressions can be pretty darn adorable. Those cute little smiles all the way to those sour faces they make when they do not like something. Babies start using different facial expression to express what they are feeling very early on, and we usually try to capture every time with a picture because of how darn cute it always is.
Some parents might mistake this for their baby or toddler trying to be cute or funny, but if they do it all of the time, then it is definitely a cause for concern.
If your baby or toddler is using facial expressions that do not match what he or she is doing or saying then this could be a sign of autism. Babies doing these things might not be a sure sign of autism, but it is something that should be mentioned to their pediatrician just to be safe.
They should be using facial expressions that actually match their feelings the majority of the time very early on in life. Every child is different, and some develop faster than others, so at the end of the day it all really comes down to how their pediatrician feels about your child’s facial expressions.
3 Gets Upset If Their Routine Is Altered
When it comes to parenting and children, establishing a good solid routine seems to be vital from day one. Making sure to establish a good nap and bedtime routine is a must for parents who want ever wish to see a decent night's sleep and once your child is into the swing of a routine, it is usually smooth sailing.
Sometimes things happen, and our routines get thrown off even if it doesn't happen often it does happen. Most of the time though your child will not even notice that their routine has been thrown off, and they certainly do not mind if it means going to bed a little bit later than usual.
But if your child seems to get overly upset over even the slightest change in their routine, then this could be a sign of autism. This could also be a sign that your child may experiencing OCD, and it can also be mistaken for a child who just doesn't like it when things change. If you child however seems to be overreacting, or they act like their whole world is ending due to the small change in their routine, then you need to bring it up to their doctor to have them evaluated. Even if there is nothing wrong, better safe than sorry.
2 Has Problem With Language
There is no doubt about it, children love to make some pretty weird noises, sometimes it can even be a little frightening. Often times this is just children trying to be goofy and get attention from those around them, however there are cases where this can be a cause for concern.
If you notice your child making weird noises, or that they tend to talk in a higher tone of voice that seems a little off, then it might not hurt to mention something to their pediatrician. Most children begin talking in full sentences around the age of 2 and a half to three years of age, and of course, some develop sooner or later than others.
But, if you notice that your child talks in a very strange voice, then it is something the worry about, and the same can be said for if they are constantly making weird noises that seem out of the ordinary.
Again these things tend to vary from child to child, no child is the same, but it never hurts to ask a doctor for their opinion. The last thing that you would want to do is mistake it for you child always being silly, when there is actually something much worse going on.
1 Repeat Actions
Children do a lot of things to try to get our attention, especially when our attention is focused on something else like doing the dishes or talking to someone else.
This can lead them to repeat themselves a lot and there is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, it is actually pretty normal.
However if you notice that your child is repetitively doing things like flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or twirling this can be a sign of autism, although it is often mistaken for a child who is just acting up or being goofy. These repetitive movements are somewhat of a way for autistic children to cope with things, or calm themselves down, and they should never be punished for doing them.
If you notice your child doing these things often, especially in stressful situations or when they are in trouble, then you should be sure to bring it up to their doctor. From there, their doctor will examine them to see what further steps should be taken, or if you need to be referred to a specialist. It is important to never try to make your child stop doing these things, because again, it is usually a way of coping.
References: National Autism Association