Symptoms of autism are usually seen during early childhood, and autism is diagnosed by the age of three.
The symptoms intensify in various degrees from one child to another.
The reaction to external factors like light, touch and smell can be normal, over-reaction or under-reaction. Normal touch may be experienced as very painful, normal smell may be very unpleasant to the child, and daily noises may be very disturbing too. On hearing loud noises – for instance, a vacuum cleaner – they may end up crying inconsolably.
They may appear indifferent to their surroundings.
They are happy to be alone.
They do not have much interest in toys, like other children.
They do not respond to others when an attempt is made to talk to them.
They are not able show or point out their interests to others.
Their activity levels fluctuate; they have a tendency to become hyperactive and, by contrast, inactive.
They do not like being cuddled or hugged.
Children with autism are usually not able to speak normally; because they cannot express themselves clearly, they tend to use gestures instead of words.
Some children develop abnormal speech, which is not recognised by others.
They tend to talk repetitively and use the same words over and over.
They are known to throw tantrums.
They may get too attached to certain objects.
They cannot maintain eye contact.
Some children do not fear apparent dangers.
As they are not able to respond to normal methods of teaching, they need special schools.