Autism: 6 Parents Talk about Their Children's Behavior Patterns

Sometimes parents notice that their children are engaging in behaviors that they suspect are not typical but don't recognize them as symptoms of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) until after their children are diagnosed. In an extensive questionnaire I gave to parents of children with ASDs, one of the questions I asked was, "Before your child was diagnosed, did you suspect something was wrong? If so, what symptoms did your child exhibit?" I asked them to describe any behaviors that were out of the ordinary. Here's what a few had to say.


  • We had always considered our son "different" from other children we know, but had chalked it up to boy/girl differences. Besides, he was an easy child, preferring to be on his own for significant amounts of time, even as an infant. We were concerned about his hearing because at eighteen months, he didn't turn if you called his name. He also could not be carried or cuddled--he would squirm out of any grasp to get away.



  • Our daughter was precocious and spoke at an early age. She counted and knew her alphabet by age one. She recited poetry and remembered every word to every book. We thought she was just clever. I was unable to get her to notice other children, and she had very limited eye contact. She began to have tantrums and became fixated on strange objects for extended periods of time.



  • There was no back and forth communication with our son and minimal eye contact. He stared at ceilingfans, brick walls, garage doors. He also hit his head often, he was a toe walker, and he hated sand, grass, and cold water. We would walk for hours up and down the alley behind our house lookingat rows of garage doors. He would constantly walk away from us and was always hyper, runningback and forth without stopping.
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