Merck Manual

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Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders

All signs do not have to be present for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, but children must have difficulties in both A and B. The signs can vary widely in severity, but must impair children's functioning.

A. Difficulties in social communication and interaction:

  • Difficulty engaging with others and sharing thoughts and feelings

  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication (such as making eye contact, understanding and using body language and facial expressions)

  • Difficulty developing, maintaining, and understanding interpersonal relationships

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and/or activities:

  • Repeated movements or speech

  • Inflexible adherence to routines and resistance to change

  • Very restricted, intense interests

  • Very increased or decreased response to physical sensations, such as tastes, smells, textures