The central feature of Autism is that the child lacks interest and responsiveness to people. In infancy these characteristics are manifested by the child failure to cuddle, lack of eye contact, aversion to physical contact and affection. Children with Autism may fail entirely to develop language and if language is acquired often it will be characterized with echolalia (the tendency to repeat immediately or after a brief period of time precisely what one just heard), or Proximal reversals (the tendency to use I where you is meant or vice versa). Some children only mildly affected may exhibit slight delays in language, or even seem to have precocious language and unusually large vocabularies, but have great difficulty in sustaining a conversation. The "give and take" of normal conversation is hard for them, although they often carry on a monologue on a favorite subject, giving no one else an opportunity to comment.

Such children also react poorly to change in the environment. Even, the slightest change in their routines may be devastating to them. They will sometimes respond aggressively to such change. Another feature of autism is that they often engage in repetitive and stereotypic behaviors such as finger twirling, hand flapping, spinning of objects and rocking. They also sometimes engaged in preoccupation in part of an object.


Assessments of Autism Include:

Direct observations, standardized instruments such as the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and Childhood Autism Rating Scale are often used to assess the child developmental skills and socialization skills.