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Symptoms of Autism


With the media interest and growing recognition of Autistic spectrum disorders, parents often want to know how they can recognise symptoms of Autism in their own children. This list is by no means exhaustive and children often display some symptoms and not others, and in varying degrees of severity. If you are at all concerned, then please contact the Autism Centre to talk or to arrange a meeting. Be aware that many of the symptoms listed below are normal behaviour for children albeit in milder forms.

Pregnancy & Birth Risk Factors

It is the contention of the Delacato organisation that the following may cause brain injury and associated symptoms.

  • Mother risked miscarriage in pregnancy
  • Mother was subjected to untreated illnesses and infections

  • Foetus subjected to birth trauma. Lengthy labour usually in excess of ten hours, strangulation by umbilical cord, use of forceps or suction devices, Caesarian Section intervention

In Infancy

  • Colic. Very difficult to feed, whether breast or bottle fed
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Crying, screaming, restlessness - may need very little sleep
  • Head banging - cot rocking
  • Fits and tantrums
  • Cannot be pacified or cuddled. Child often spurns affection
  • Did not have a stage of crawling on hands and knees

Older Children (in addition to above)

  • Clumsy, impulsive. Often accident prone.
  • Erratic disruptive behaviour
  • Compulsive touching - everything and everyone
  • Constant motion - wiggles legs
  • May walk on toes. Runs everywhere
  • Disturbs other children. May be aggressive
  • Poor concentration. Unable to complete tasks
  • Demands must be met immediately
  • Frustration leads to temper tantrums
  • Normal or high IQ but fails at school
  • Poor appetite. Poor hand and eye co-ordination
  • Uncooperative, defiant and disobedient
  • Self abusive. Pulling/picking skin etc.
  • Continued problems with sleep. Wakes many times in the night
  • Cannot sit through a meal
  • Bedwetting

Other Signs of Autism

  • A number of health problems may also afflict the child. In infancy they may suffer colic, diarrhoea, rashes, ear and chest infections
  • Often show no fear, taking risks and climbing high obstacles. See no danger to themselves
  • May have a high pain threshold when active and not notice injury until later
  • May have poor 'gross' motor control - exceptionally clumsy, colide with objects, trip when walking, poor at sports; or poor 'fine' motor control - difficulty in writing, drawing, tying shoe laces, buttoning etc.
  • Try to hog the limelight and are inclined to disrupt other childrens games and often have difficulty in mixing with peers, or become the class clown
  • Sometimes prefer the company of younger or older children
  • May become withdrawn
  • Speech, hearing, vision and memory deficits, coupled with poor concentration can make school a frustrating and difficult place for Autistic children
What Is Autism?
Symptons of Austism
Research Articles

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