Signs of autism in children can be different depending on the age and sex of each child.
Autism in young children
Signs of autism in young children include:
- not responding to their name
- avoiding eye contact
- not smiling when you smile at them
- getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound
- repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body
- not talking as much as other children
- repeating the same phrases
Autism in older children
Signs of autism in older children include:
- not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling
- finding it hard to say how they feel
- liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
- having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
- getting very upset if you ask them to do something
- finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own
- taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”
Autism in girls and boys
Autism can sometimes be different in girls and boys. For example, autistic girls may be quieter, may hide their feelings and may appear to cope better with social situations.
This means autism can be harder to spot in girls.
How to get a diagnosis
If your child has signs of autism, the next step is to talk to someone about it. You can speak to:
- 0-19 service by calling 0151 514 0219 for children who are not in full time school.
- Special educational needs (SENCO) staff at your child’s school or nursery
Ask for their advice and if they think it is a good idea to refer your child for an autism assessment. This is the only way to find out if your child is autistic.
Tips for when you speak to someone
- Write a list of the signs of autism you think your child has and bring it with you.
- Ask those around you if they have noticed any possible signs you can put on your list.
- Bring a pen and paper to make notes.
- You can bring your child or someone you know with you if you need support but you do not have to.
How a diagnosis can help you
This information was adapted from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/autism/signs/children/