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Health Tip: Symptoms of Autism

Lack of communication, repetitive actions lead the list

(HealthDay News) -- With autism on the rise -- as many as 12 in every 10,000 children (boys more than girls) -- how can a parent tell if their child is autistic or if they have some other mental health disorder?

Autism prevents children and adolescents from interacting normally with other people, and affects almost every aspect of their social and psychological development. According to the National Mental Health Information Center, autism has a wide variety of characteristics ranging in intensity from mild to severe. One child with autism does not behave like another child with the same diagnosis. Children and adolescents with autism typically:

  • Have difficulty communicating with others.
  • Exhibit repetitious behaviors, such as rocking back and forth, head banging, or touching or twirling objects.
  • Have a limited range of interests and activities.
  • May become upset by a small change in their environment or daily routine.

In addition to these characteristics, some children with autism experience hypersensitivity to hearing, touch, smell or taste. Symptoms of autism can be seen in early infancy, but the condition also may appear after months of normal development. In most cases, however, it is not possible to identify a specific event that triggers the disorder.

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