Different developmental disabilities are defined by a certain set of behaviors. As a spectrum disorder, children and adults with autism can exhibit any combination of these behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act completely different from one another and have a varying combination of the following characteristics:
Children may have difficulty in both verbal and non-verbal communication. There may be an absence of language development, limited or disordered speech and obsessive or one-sided conversations. They may also have challenges with body language, facial expressions, gestures and signs.
Children may exhibit indifference to others or highly inappropriate behaviors. They may also avoid affection, eye contact and playing with other children.
Play may be limited to one or two activities, involving repetitive actions. Children may also use toys inappropriately and not for their intended purpose.
Children may develop ritualistic behaviors and obsessions. Typical autistic movements include rocking, spinning, flicking hands or fingers in front of their eyes, tapping objects and mouthing objects. They may become dependent on certain routines and form obsessions with items, places or subjects.
For more information about developmental milestones and downloadable detailed lists of typical milestones from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please click here.