Autism is generally diagnosed in children from preschool age right through to adulthood.
Some experts feel that the signs of autism may be seen in babies as young as 4 months,
and recent early studies using eye-tracking technology suggest it may even be evident in
babies as young as two months.
However, it is unlikely a child will be screened until they are older, as a diagnosis of
autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is made by looking at a wide range of tests and
behavioural interactions. These tests are usually carried out from the age of two years.
Children with Autism
Children with autism spectrum disorder often have additional learning difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), or anxiety. Roughly 50% of children with autism will have learning difficulties, such as global developmental delay (GDD).
Signs of Autism
Children with autism may be seen to have repetitive hand movements, stimming, rocking, and flicking their fingers. They may lack imaginative play skills, or play with items in a ritualistic way such as lining up and ordering items according to categories. Children with autism often prefer routines and may get very anxious when this is disrupted. This can be challenging both at home and when interacting with their peers.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be seen as a stand-alone disorder, or be associated with other conditions such as fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, Rett syndrome, Down’s syndrome, and cerebral palsy.