Understanding Autism in Children: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Therapies

Autism in Children


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects children, causing behavioural, social, and communication difficulties. It is important to understand the symptoms, causes, and available therapies for children with ASD. Early intervention plays a crucial role in improving their quality of life. Read on to learn more about autism in children.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition or disability that affects the behavioural, social, and communication abilities of individuals. While people with ASD may not appear different from others, they often exhibit unique ways of behaving, interacting, communicating, and learning. The diagnosis of ASD includes several conditions, such as Asperger Syndrome, Autistic Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Autistic Disorder Characteristics: Signs and Symptoms

Autism occurs along a spectrum, with varying degrees of symptoms and severity. Children with autism may exhibit mild to severe symptoms. The signs and symptoms of autism can be observed from an early age, with some children experiencing a regression in their developmental milestones. Heightened sensitivity to external sensory stimuli, repetitive behaviors, and delayed speech are common characteristics of autism in children.

Early Signs of Autism

Recognizing the early signs of autism is crucial for early intervention. Some early signs include poor eye contact, lack of babbling or cooing by 12 months, failure to respond to their name, absence of gestures like pointing or waving, and delayed speech development. Repetitive behaviors and a lack of two-word phrases independently by 24 months are also indicative of autism in children.

Characteristics of Autism Among Older Children

As children with autism grow older, they may exhibit difficulties in communication, comprehension of emotions, and forming relationships. Repetition of words or phrases, self-isolation, impulsivity, sensitivity to changes in routine, and fixation on specific activities are common characteristics among older children with autism. Language development may also be delayed or impaired.

Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder

While the exact cause of autism is not known, research suggests that genetic factors play a significant role. Structural or functional abnormalities in the brain, including disruptions in neurotransmitters like serotonin, contribute to the development of autism. Environmental factors and prenatal stress may also play a role, but no evidence supports the claim that vaccines cause autism.

Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Diagnosing ASD can be complex, as it encompasses a range of conditions. Medical professionals rely on behavioral observations, developmental milestones, and screening tools like the M-CHAT to assess the risk of autism in children. Comprehensive evaluations, including physical and neurological examinations, are conducted to identify any unusual behaviors or delays in development. Additional tests may be required to rule out other conditions.

Available Therapies and Interventions for Children with Autism

Early intervention is crucial for children with autism. While there is no cure for ASD, various therapies and interventions can help children improve communication, social interaction, and behavior. Among the available interventions, applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Floortime, diet and nutritional therapy, integrated play groups, speech and language therapy, medication treatment, social skills training, occupational therapy, and educational support.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early diagnosis and intervention significantly impact the lives of children with autism. Providing comprehensive treatments, therapies, and support for individuals with ASD and their families can significantly affect their long-term outcomes. Early intervention maximizes the potential for children with autism to thrive and lead independent lives.


Understanding autism in children is essential for early detection, diagnosis, and intervention. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects children differently, but early recognition of symptoms, proper diagnosis, and access to appropriate therapies and support can greatly improve their quality of life. By promoting awareness and providing comprehensive treatments, we can empower children with autism to reach their full potential.