Autism Characteristics | Diagnosing Mental Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders aren’t diagnosed based upon just a single symptom or factor, yet from a mixture of certain developmental disabilities, communication delays, and/or behaviors. Depending upon the range and severity of symptoms, a youngster might be diagnosed as high functioning, seriously developmentally delayed or be placed anywhere alongside the autism spectrum.


A few common diagnoses include: PDD-NOS, PDD or (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), Asperger’s, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rhett Syndrome or Autism Disorder.


Canadian Medical Association determines autism as: The condition where a youngster does not have the ability to relate to situations and people and might display an obsessive resistance towards change.

Lorna Wing’s Definition


Ms. Wing separated the characteristics of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) into 3 primary categories:


1. Social Interaction- involves characteristics like: not paying attention to other people; being uninterested, distant and aloof; being withdrawn and alone; lack of social skills; unsuitable social behavior; and/or trouble sustaining or making relationships.


2. Social Communication- involves both nonverbal and verbal communication skills like: not completely understanding the meaning of usual facial expressions, gestures, or voice tone; abnormal verbal communication patterns; echolalia (repetition of what’s been stated to an individual); trouble with pronouns like ‘you’ and ‘I’; unsuitable voice tone; and/or lack of facial gestures and expressions.


3. Social Imagination- involves comprehending how other people feel, think, and react; issues with imagination; trouble developing imaginative play; possessing a literal comprehension of language and trouble with expressions (like ‘pull those socks up’); issues with predicting outcomes of actions or events.


4. Patterns of behavior, activities or interests- obsessed with a specific object or topic; concentrating on certain rituals or routines that possess no practical function; repeating movements or actions such as hand flapping, body movements and/or spinning; powerful preoccupation with object parts; under sensitive or extra sensitive to specific textures, tastes, smells or sounds.


Davis Autism Approach


Most programs concentrate upon implementing plans that work on certain characteristics. Autistic engineer, Ron Davis, examined the underlying characteristic causes. According to Davis, ‘If you get rid of the reason an issue exists, the issue will stop existing.’


Thus, if autism includes a developmental disorder, as is usually agreed on in studies, how could we offer the experience, structure, and support required to assist an autistic in developing?


The solution lies in the 3 phases discovered within this Davis Autism Approach®:


  • Individuation
  • Identity Development
  • Social Integration


Social skills


  • No or very little eye contact
  • Resistance to being touched or held
  • Usually gets overly close while talking to somebody (loss of personal space)
  • Will respond to social interactions, yet doesn’t initiate them
  • Generally doesn’t share experiences or observations with other people
  • Trouble comprehending jokes, sarcasm or figures of speech
  • Trouble reading body language and facial expressions
  • Trouble comprehending conversation rules
  • Trouble comprehending group interactions
  • Does not like to answer questions regarding themselves
  • Provides spontaneous comments that tend to have no link to the present conversation
  • Makes honest, yet unsuitable observations
  • Is not able to comprehend an additional person’s feelings
  • Likes to be alone, overly-friendly or aloft
  • Trouble sustaining friendships
  • Finds it simpler to socialize with individuals who are younger or older, instead of peers who are their own age
  • Disinterested in/unaware of what’s going on around them
  • Speaks excessively concerning more than one topic (movies, dinosaurs, and so on)
  • Too trusting or does not have the ability to read motives behind individuals’ actions
  • Very little acknowledgement of other people


Language development/Linguistic


  • Irregular use of intonation, pitch, stress, or rhythm when talking
  • Speech is irregularly quiet or loud
  • Trouble whispering
  • Repeats last phrases or words multiple times. Makes verbal noises when listening
  • Oftentimes utilizes incomplete, brief sentences
  • Pronouns are oftentimes inappropriately utilized
  • Might possess an extremely high vocabulary
  • Utilizes an individual’s name excessively while talking with them (‘Mary, we’re having lunch. Correct, Mary?’)
  • Speech began extremely early then ceased for a span of time
  • Trouble comprehending directional words (after, before, back, front)




  • Has an obsession with desires, ideas and objects
  • Compulsive or ritualistic behavior patterns (licking, sniffing, watching objects fall, spinning, flapping arms, humming, rocking, sucking, tapping, rubbing clothing)
  • Intrigued by rotation
  • Play often is repetitive
  • Varied and many collections
  • Abnormal object attachment
  • Quotes video games or movies
  • Trouble transferring skills from area to area
  • Perfectionism within specific areas
  • Frustration’s expressed in abnormal ways
  • Feels like he or she needs to rearrange or fix things
  • Transitioning from activity to activity is challenging
  • Trouble attending to a few activities
  • Gross motor skills usually are developmentally behind their peers (running, skating, bike riding)
  • Fine motor skills usually are developmentally behind their peers (scissors, tying shoes, handwriting)
  • Unable to perceive probable harmful situations
  • Extreme phobia for no good reason
  • Verbally explosive
  • Unpredictable movements (running into the street)
  • Trouble sensing time (Understanding how long 10 minutes is or 3 days or 1 week)
  • Trouble waiting their turn (like in a line)
  • Causes harm to self (banging head, biting)


Sensitivities or Emotions


  • Lack of sensitivity or sensitivity to textures (touch), sounds, smells, tastes, or light
  • Trouble with sudden or loud sounds
  • Abnormally low or high pain tolerance
  • Intolerance to specific colors, food textures, or the way they’re presented upon the plate (one certain food cannot touch an additional one)
  • Unsuitable touching of self within public places
  • Wants comfort items (string, rock, teddy, blankets)
  • Throws a tantrum, cries, or laughs for no good reason
  • Resists change within the environment (objects, places, people)
  • Emotional incident may decide the mood for that day – emotions may pass extremely suddenly or are drawn out for long periods of time
  • Is overwhelmed with an overly amount of verbal direction
  • Is usually either tuned out or breaks down while being reprimanded
  • Calmed with outside stimulation – brushing, soothing sound, constant pressure (rolled inside a blanket, hammock), rotating object
  • Might require to be left by self to release frustration and tension


School-associated skills


  • Very high skills within a few areas and extremely low within other ones
  • Outstanding rote memory within a few areas
  • Trouble with reading comprehension (could quote an answer, yet does not have the ability to summarize, predict, or discover symbolism)
  • Trouble with fine motor tasks (gluing, scissors, printing, coloring)
  • Brief attention span for the majority of lessons
  • Inability or resistance to follow instructions
  • Trouble transitioning from activity to activity in school




  • Walks upon toes
  • Abnormal gait
  • Trouble changing from floor surface to floor surface (sidewalk to grass, carpet to wood)
  • Unnatural or odd posture (floppy or rigid)
  • Trouble moving through spaces (slams into people or objects)
  • Strolls without freely swinging arms
  • Incontinence of bladder and/or bowel
  • Constipation
  • Constant gas (burping, flatulence) or vomiting
  • Has hearing issues, yet hearing was checked and is okay
  • Activity of seizures
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Lack of concern for hygiene (body odor, teeth, hair)


Nobody will display all those characteristics, as every autistic possesses special struggles and gifts. It’s a list of usually witnessed characteristics discovered upon the autism spectrum. The list is offered for educational reasons and not supposed to be utilized for diagnosing autism. Most of those characteristics also can be discovered in those having trouble with ADHD/ADD. Typically, an autistic experiences difficulty in multiple categories listed above, not only a single one.


Autism Characteristics


Bright Tots:


National Association of Parents of Children in Special Education: