Signs and Symptoms of Autism

In this week’s mental health tips we’re gonna look at the signs and symptoms of autism.

We all probably know someone who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but that only gives us one picture of autism. In the current DSM (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) they list two features that are associated with autism:

  • Impairment in social interaction and communication, and
  • behavior.

Because there is no one type of autism, it’s important to look at how those features play out differently for people on the spectrum. Some of the signs and symptoms can look like this…

  • Difficulty with eye contact to the point that it’s noticeable.
  • Hard time with small talk.
  • Difficulty reading social cues—might look like not knowing personal boundaries, talking too loudly, or standing too closely.
  • Brain scans have revealed that a person with autism will have fewer mirror neurons in the prefrontal cortex than the neurotypical individual. This is what makes them struggle with perspective taking–understanding where another person is coming from, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity for empathy.
  • Preoccupation with routine.
  • Engaging with repetitive behaviors. This is called stimming and usually refers to rocking, spinning, or flapping your hands. It could be something as simple as rubbing your fingers together. They might also repetitively wear the same clothing.
  • They might have an intense interest in one area so that they basically become experts and could monopolizing a conversation telling you everything they know.
  • They are also sensitive to sensory overload, and might have sensory issues with foods, smells, and noise.
  • There is also a tendency toward literal and rigid thinking.

If you’re interested in learning more about early signs and symptoms of autism there’s a link in the notes below to an article put out by the CDC that is very specific and helpful.


Are you trying to put people in a “normal” box so that you can feel comfortable or can you appreciate the differences each person brings to the table whether they are neurotypical or not?


Do you or a family member have a diagnosis of autism? If so, what would you want people to know about your life? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

And a big thank you to His Heart Foundation for supporting this channel. If you want more in-depth mental health information for you and those you love check out today.

Special Notes:

I am so grateful to Licensed Mental Health Counselor Joshua Moore  who helped me with information for this series as well as the amazing website and

Recommended Reading for Kids and Parents:

The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens with Asperger Syndrome

Connect to a counselor:

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