Common Symptoms

The following is a list of common symptoms associated with Autism:

• Poor eye contact
• Hand flapping
• Poor sleep and reduced requirement for sleep
• Narrow food choices – French fries, mac n cheese, milk
• Abnormal stools – not formed or easy to pass
• Delayed potty training
• Bedwetting
• Low muscle tone
• Sensitive to sound / light / activity
• Lack of interest or ability to play with other children
• Lack of imitation or pretend play
• Lack of pointing but may use parents finger to point or to lead them to what they want
• Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
• Narrow focus of interest
• Self-focused – only talks about own interest – lack of interest in others
• Lack of facial expression – smiles less
• Stimming behaviors – repetitive hand tapping, finger flicking, rocking
• Food cravings / Narrow diets – especially for carbohydrates, dairy and sugars
• Eats all day long / constantly hungry
• Avoids certain textures of foods – eats only hard, crunchy foods or soft foods
• Pica –mouths and chews on non-food items
• Teeth grinding
• Tics
• Ears get red after eating certain foods
• Low muscle tone
• Poor fine motor control / dislikes coloring / difficulty with printing
• Uncoordinated / poor motor planning / can’t ride a bike or tricycle / can’t balance or jump on one foot / running is off-balance
• Poor growth – small for age
• Prefers to have clothes off / dresses for summer in winter
• Intolerant of heat
• Sleeps with blankets off
• Hyperactive
• Climbs to high places
• Eczema
• Pale skin
• Rough skin on the back of arms and sometimes legs (keratosis pilaris)
• Hyperfocus when doing preferred activities
• Looks “through” you
• Doesn’t respond to name when called
• Immaturity compared with peers
• Lines up objects instead of playing with them
• Fascination with fans / spinning objects
• Looks out of the corners of his / her eyes
• Wiggles fingers at the sides of his / her eyes
• Does not respond when talked to – parents wonder about impaired hearing
• Appears afraid of loud noises but tolerates their own loud noises
• Overwhelmed when in busy crowded situations
• Over sensitive to sensory stimulation – sounds, lights, music, touching – especially light touch
• Covers ears with hands
• Chews on clothing / fabric / paper / toys / books, or any other non-food items
• Hides under blanket
• Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another
• Extreme tantrums which are difficult to calm down from
• Unpredictable mood swings / crying for no reason / sudden screams
• Upset with change in routine / very rigid in their routine
• Heightened anxiety / Fearful of new situations / Unusual or irrational fears
• Pacing / jumping up and down / spinning behavior
• Irritability and angry outburst / defiance / rage
• Self-injurious behavior / biting / head banging / hitting self
• Anxiety / irrational fears
• Poor impulse control
• Compulsive behavior
• Awakens at night / Sleeps less than others of same age / Restless sleeper
• Grouchy in the morning despite sleeping
• Abnormal bowel movements – undigested food, constipation, diarrhea / malodorous stools
• Bloated tummy while ribs may be seen and arms and legs are thin
• Seeks pressure to abdomen or specific areas of body
• Walking on toes
• Worse behavior with constipation
• Improved behavior after bowel movement
• Hair that lacks luster and may be thin
• Nails that don’t grow normally – seldom need to be clipped
• Dilated pupils