Autism – Some early signs

by John E. Peats M.S., CCC-SLP

Autistic Spectrum disorder is a condition where children are born with a range of debilitating limitations in ability to understand and use verbal language to communicate. It is a condition that is being diagnosed increasingly in american society today. Here are some statistics. One in 68 US children today has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Austic Spectrum disorder is more commonly found in boys (1 in 42) than girls (1 in 89). Almost half of children with ASD has average or above average I.Q – a measure of intelligence. These statistics tell us ASD is commonly seen and is affecting boys more than girls. We can also see that children with ASD have the potential to learn and function as peers with time and intervention. In this article several behaviors or signs are presented that can be used to help parents begin early in getting children with ASD the help they need. Here are some early signs of Autistic Spectrum disorder:

1. A child exhibits very limited social interaction such as fleeting or very brief eye contact and no smiling when engaging others.

2. A child exhibit unusual behaviors like flapping of hands or constantly pushing their body against another person.

3. A child grabs or guides your hand to get something. An example could be taking your hand and guiding you to the refrigerator to get juice.

4. A child does NOT use gestures like pointing to communicate something they’re interested in.

5. A child seldom seem to understand what is said to him or her.

6. A child show little or no interest in toys or playing with others.

7. A child says very limited sounds or words but may make unusual sounds like grunts and squeals.

8. Child engages in repetitive motions and become very upset when made to stop or alter activity

In summary, it is clear that Autistic Spectrum disorder is a growing concern in the United States today. It is imperative as parents and caregivers that we identify early on whether or not this disorder manifests in our children. Early treatment has been shown to make a world of difference in helping these children acclimate and function normally or as normal as possible in today’s society.


I've been a speech therapist for 18 years now. I've worked with children and adults in a variety of settings and have found the work very fulfilling. I am married and have 3 children. I am also a musician.