Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological development disorder, which manifests during the first three years of life and lasts throughout their lifetime.
The basic symptoms of autism are two:
• Persistent deficiencies in communication and social interaction.
• Restrictive and repetitive patterns in behaviour, interests or activities.
The signs that could be indicative of ASD in children are:
• In kindergarten and school, there is lack of interest in other children.
• They don’t share interests (they do not tend to point to things that catch their attention to share it with someone else).
• Absence of symbolic play (giving food to children, making dinner in the toy kitchen, playing with cars like they were real, etc.).
• There is little visual contact and they do not observe the facial expressions of the speaker when they see something unusual. They do not tend to participate in social laughter.
• Their language, if they have any, is literal (they do not understand jokes, wit, double meaning or metaphors).
• They avoid physical contact or they like it very little. They tend to have hypersensitivities to touch, smell, taste and sound. Often there is little sensitivity to pain.
• They react very little to the voice of their parents, which would lead them to suspect an auditory disorder.
• They have unusual interests. These are repetitive and not shared.
• They show strange, repetitive and self-stimulating behaviours, such as rocking, flapping their hands or walking on their tiptoes, among others.
• Those that show a higher level of intellect can tell that they are different, and they do not understand what’s wrong. They are a piece of a puzzle that they don’t know how to attach or fit into the social board.