Autism Symptoms Checklist

What should you look for in a child who may have autism?

Here is a checklist of common traits that indicate a child may have a diagnosis of autism.  By checking off the behaviors that apply, a parent can help get a head-start on intervention by bringing this list to a healthcare provider, along with a complete medical and developmental history, of the child. The healthcare provider will then conduct further observations and assessments in order to make an authentic diagnosis.

Early signs of Autism

First Signs


Symptom checklist

Infant / Baby checklist:

___    Does not smile or engage in social behavior (clapping, chasing bubbles)

___    Avoids eye contact; only peers at parent or others out of corner of eye

___    Seems overly sensitive to being touched or to certain, often loud, noises

____  Under-responsive to pain unless acute

____  Focuses on objects instead of people

____  No pointing or gesturing by 12 months

____  No babble by 12 months

____  Lack of imitation (stacking blocks, stirring spoon, clapping)

____  No interest in peers

____  Does not respond to name or attempts to get his/her attention

____  Doesn’t like to cuddle

____  No spontaneous two-word phrases by 12 months

____  Stares at unmoving object for long periods of time

____  Does not make attachments to cuddly toys or people

____  No interest in or ability to crawl or walk




____  Any loss of skills or language; child appears to be “going backwards” in development

____  Echolalia (repeats what others say)

____  Delayed fine motor skills (ability to hold crayons, pencils, work with clay)

____  Dislike of certain textures (sand under feet, play-do, clay)

____  Aversion to certain smells, textures and appearances of food

____  Inability to ask for what he wants; tantrums to get what he wants

____  Prefers to be alone

____  Spins self or objects for long periods of time

____  Runs back and forth for no purpose

____  Seems to be in “own world”

____  Has increased sensitivity to light and loud noises

____  Reduced sensitivity to pain; cannot tell when he is sick

____  Insensitive to extreme heat, extreme cold

____  Minimal or no response to others’ emotions

____  Inappropriate responses to others’ words or emotions

____  Inability to initiate play or conversation

____  Louder than usual voice; robotic or sing-song voice

____  Overly formal language and mannerisms

____  More comfortable with adults than peers

____  Doesn’t understand imaginary games or jokes

____  Repetitive play with toys; lines up toys or other objects time after time

____  Hits or bites other children to get preferred object away from them

____  Turns light switch on and off or rewinds video over and over again, ignoring pleas to stop

____  Does not respond to others’ smiles or overtures

____  Hurts self by biting, scratching, hitting head on wall or floor

____  Oppositional to adults

____  Does not like new situations; gets extremely agitated with change in routine

____  Difficulty making friends

____  Excluded by other children; teased and/or bullied

____  Talks about the topics over and over again and doesn’t seem interested in anything else

____  Unable to converse with others

____  Unable to relate to others on an emotional level; establishes relationships in order only to get what he needs

____  Walks on tip-toes


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