What are the Most Important Symptoms of Autism?

Autism is a complex disorder that affects people in different ways. Common signs of autism include avoiding eye contact, delays in speech and communication skills, dependence on rules and routines, being upset by relatively minor changes, unexpected reactions to sounds, tastes, sights, touch and smells, and difficulty understanding other people's emotions. Diagnosing autism involves assessing the severity of the symptoms using a checklist of criteria in two categories: social communication challenges and specialty health care providers. The Autism Severity Scale reflects how much support a person needs for daily functioning.

Many people with autism also have sensory problems that involve excessive or insufficient sensitivity to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain, and other stimuli. The exact cause of autism is unknown; however, both genetics and the environment can influence its development. As more medical and mental health professionals become aware of the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to those with autism will increase. People with mild autism may appear eccentric during conversations due to their diverse vocabularies, frequent interruptions, or focus on particular topics.

A small number of children appear to develop normally during the first year and then experience a period of regression between 18 and 24 months when they develop symptoms of autism. To help adults determine if they have autism and what to do next, there is an autism spectrum disorder quiz related to causes, reasons, symptoms, treatment, diagnosis and therapies. Because each person with ASD has a unique combination of symptoms and varying levels of severity, it can be difficult to determine the severity. Early signs in infants may include lack of eye contact or decreased eye contact, focusing too much on one topic, and lack of back-and-forth play.

As more people become familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism, diagnosis rates continue to rise. Symptoms may include intense focus on an item, lack of response, lack of understanding of social cues (such as tone of voice or body language), repetitive movements or self-abusive behavior such as head banging. People with high-functioning autism often have symptoms not originally associated with autism; therefore it is important for professionals to recognize the range of behaviors associated with the autism spectrum. While children usually don't outgrow the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, they can learn to function well.

Children with ASD will have symptoms throughout their lives but may improve as they get older. In the most recent version of this diagnostic guide, Asperger's syndrome has been eliminated as a formal diagnosis; those with the symptoms formerly associated with Asperger's syndrome are now grouped into the category of autism spectrum disorder.

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