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Signs of Autism in Preschoolers

Signs of autism become more apparent as children age. Your child may exhibit some of the following signs of autism. If you have any niggling worry, check it out as early intervention can make a big difference to a person’s life.

Social skills

  • Doesn’t respond to their name
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Prefers playing alone than playing with others
  • Doesn’t share well with others or take turns
  • Doesn’t participate in pretend play
  • Doesn’t tell stories
  • Isn’t interested in interacting or socialising with others
  • Doesn’t like or actively avoids physical contact
  • Isn’t interested or doesn’t know how to make friends
  • Doesn’t facial expressions or makes inappropriate expressions
  • Cannot be easily soothed or comforted
  • Has difficulty expressing or talking about their feelings
  • Has difficulty understanding other people’s feelings


Language and communication skills

  • Can’t form sentences
  • Repeats works or phrases over and over
  • Doesn’t answer questions appropriately or follow directions
  • Doesn’t understand counting or time
  • Reverses pronouns (for example, says, “you” instead of “I”)
  • Rarely or never uses gestures or body language like waving or pointing
  • Talks in a flat or sing-song voice
  • Doesn’t understand jokes, sarcasm or teasing


Irregular behaviours

  • Performs repetitive motions (flaps hands, rocks back and forth, spins)
  • Lines up toys or other objects in an organized fashion
  • Gets upset or frustrated by small changes in daily routines
  • Plays with toys the same way every time
  • Like certain parts of objects (often wheels or spinning parts)
  • Has obsessive interests
  • Has to follow certain routines


Other noteworthy autism signs in Pre-schoolers

  • Hyperactivity or short attention span
  • Impulsivity
  • Aggression
  • Self-injuries (punching or scratching self)
  • Temper tantrums
  • Irregular reaction to sounds, smells, tastes, sights or textures
  • Irregular eating and sleeping habits
  • Inappropriate emotional reactions
  • Shows a lack of fear or more fear than expected
What next? New diagnosis? Overwhelmed? Our experience and understanding can help. start here