Behavior Characteristics of Autism
If you have concerns your child might have some behavior characteristics of autism there are a variety of traits to look for. Although some behavior characteristics of autism can also be sensory oriented, and self stimulatory, they are closely related. I say that because for example, your child is sensitive to certain textures, it is a sensory issue and at the same time can be considered a behavior characteristic of autism due to the fact it is a behavior that can be changed.
Most children with autism are diagnosed before the age of three, but not all. Some children that can function typically and may just have a social issue, such as aspergers syndrome, it may take longer to detect. I actually have a friend that has a son who is in seventh grade and was just diagnosed with aspergers because he had socialization problems.
Let me share with you some behavior characteristics of autism to look for. They are: no speech, no or very little understanding of receptive or expressive language, non contextual vocalizations, delayed speech, echolalia, which is repeating exactly what was said to you, lack of eye contact, lack of response to people, possibly not realizing people exist in your environment, aggression toward self and or others, perseveration, and tip toe walking.
Some other behavior characteristics of autism include inappropriate toy play, such as spinning a car's wheels instead of pushing the car, likes to line items up and or track them as well, tantrums become extreme because of frustration due to not being able to communicate, scripting, unaware of own body in space, your child might have to have the same routine each day and if gets broken your child may have that full blown tantrum. Lack of social skills is also considered a behavior characteristic of autism.
Self Stimulatory and Sensory Behaviors
Behavior characteristics of autism that are sensory or self stimulatory related are exhibited to show excitement, possibly self soothing, and or because of frustration. Some of these behaviors are; hand flapping ,which usually occurs due to excitement, inappropriate vocalizations, meaning making noises on and on, tracking items at eye level, circling items, such as a table, which can occurs due to boredom or not knowing what to do, aggression towards self and or others, which could be hitting, biting, or pinching. This occurs because of frustration
If your child is autistic, self stimulatory behaviors may bring your child back to their comfort zone.
I will briefly touch on sensory behaviors. You might seen your child tense, either body or teeth, will not touch different textures, afraid of a variety of noises, extreme dislike when brushing teeth or getting a haircut, and has a very limited diet due to foods having textures your child may not like. Some children like to smell everything to get a sensation, and your child might not liked to be touched.
To look further as a concerned parent you can download the MCHAT or the CHAT. The MCHAT is a checklist for infants through two and the CHAT is used for children over two.
I want to remind you that I am not a doctor, but an experienced ABA therapist since 1995. I have worked under a BCBA and a BCABA as well. If you are familiar with the Alpine Learning Group, which is in northern New Jersey, that is where I was first trained under the direction of Bridget Taylor. She is well known in the autism community and has been for many years.
I believe through a good ABA home program, which does consist of many hours of good therapy, your child can succeed in learning academics, receptive and expressive, overcome sensory and behavioral issues, and learn to adapt in the world around them.
Behavior Characteristics of Autism