The second symptom is communication challenges. This is an essential feature when autism is diagnosed. Around 4 to 18 months, children start babbling, and later they start using more single words and know when to use them.
At the age of two simple word structures start emerging. Conversely, young autistic children take longer to start speaking and use gestures. In some cases, children who develop autism later on “babble” during the first few months before their communication abilities wear off. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had”. Another obstacle is the incapability to comprehend body language, tone of voice and expressions that aren’t meant to be taken seriously such as sarcasm.
Interestingly, autistic individuals exhibit facial expressions and movements that do not resemble what they are saying. Moreover, their tone of voice does not always reflect what they are feeling which makes it challenging for others to understand what they want, need or mean. Nevertheless, there are methods that aid children as well as adults who suffer from autism in order to express their wants and needs in a better way. With the use of therapy and the use of “communication systems such as images, sign language, electronic word processors and speech generating devices”, most autistic individuals do learn how to speak and communicate.
The third symptom is repetitive behaviors. These behaviours incorporate “hand-flapping, rocking, jumping and twirling, arranging and rearranging objects, and repeating sounds, words, or phrases.”. The propensity to such behaviors can be observed in the way that numerous autistic children play with toys. Some invest hours arranging toys in a specific way as opposed to actually playing with them.
It can be very stressful if someone or something disrupts that order. Due to this, many autistic individuals need a fixed environment and daily routine otherwise it can lead to outbursts. Repetitive behaviours can appear as extreme distractions, or obsessions. “Older autistic individuals also develop a greater interest in numbers, symbols, dates or science topics.” This may not seem like a bad thing, but it does become compulsive.