Social Communication/Social Interaction      

  • Deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication.communicat
  • Loss of or delay in developing spoken language
  • Difficulty using speech in a meaningful way
  • Difficulty or absence of ability to  imitate sounds and words
  • Difficulty or inability to point in order to express need or interest
  • Indicating needs with gestures (sometimes unusual ones) instead of words
  • Rarely initiates communication
  • Repeating words or phrases heard (echolalia) instead of answering.
  • Confusing gender (he, she) and pronouns (I, me, you) in speech
  • Unusual pitch and rhythm in speech
  • Difficulties with social interaction
  • Unusual or lack of eye contact
  • Unusual or lack of facial affect or expression
  • Difficulty interacting with other people (responding back and forth, turn-taking), making friends, and understanding others
  • Apparent lack of empathy or consideration for others thoughts or feelings
  • Difficulty controlling emotion and excitement
  • Laughing, giggling or screaming at unusual times
  • Difficulty joining other people
  • Difficulty sharing attention with others

Behaviours:  Stereotypical, rigid routine, sensory stimuli

Repetitive, stereotypical behaviors

  • Repetitive actions or body movements (e.g. Hand flapping, finger flipping, spinning, rocking etc.)
  • Unusual postures, walking or movement patterns

 Rigid routines, behavior patterns

  • Problems coping with change; dependency on parts of routines
  • Unusual or inappropriate habits or interests
  • Anxiety or tantrums (“meltdowns”) when things unexpectedly change.
  • Difficulty with delayed gratification, waiting.

 Sensory Stimuli

  • Difficulty imitating gross or fine motor movements
  • Intense focus on moving or spinning objects
  • No fear or understanding of real dangers (running, jumping off of objects etc.)
  • Over or under reaction to sight, sound, smell, taste, pain or touch (including being held)
  • Actively sensory seeking behaviors (running, spinning, jumping, seeking deep pressure contact and hugs, excessive smelling)
  • Actively avoiding sensory stimuli (covering ears, eyes, avoiding crowded busy rooms and places)
  • Intense or unusual activity levels

Cognition and Learning

  • Difficulty paying attention or shifting attention (stuck on an idea or action, perseverates)
  • Difficulty understanding abstract ideas
  • Difficulty grasping time and order of events
  • Thoughts and actions may appear illogical, may seem to arrive at irrational conclusions.
  • Can have very a strong memory for certain specific details and facts, especially in an area of obsessive interest.
  • Difficulty using items or toys to represent real objects
  • “Black and white” thinking, difficulty in understanding “exceptions to the rule”
  • May not benefit from typical teaching methods, rather need alternative teaching methods that concentrate on visual strategies, reinforcing, step-by-step and concrete learning.

Associated Features and Concerns

  • Unusual sleep patterns
  • Sudden, unexplained, extreme distress or fear, phobias
  • Eating problems (often sensory and texture related aversions)
  • Toileting problems
  • Grooming, self-care difficulties or lack of concern for.
  • Self-injurious or aggressive behavior or destructive behavior.