What are the Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders? Each of the disorders on the autism spectrum is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others. They share some or all of the following characteristics, which can vary from mild to severe:

 

·         Communication problems
·         Difficulty relating to people, things, and events;

·         Playing with toys and objects in unusual ways;

·         Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or to familiar surroundings; 
·         Repetitive body movements or behaviors.
 

These characteristics are typically evident before the age of three.

 

Children with autism or one of the other disorders on the autism spectrum can differ considerably with respect to their abilities, intelligence, and behavior. Some children don’t talk at all. Others use language where phrases or conversations are repeated. Children with the most advanced language skills tend to talk about a limited range of topics and to have a hard time understanding abstract concepts. Repetitive play and limited social skills are also evident. Other common symptoms of a disorder on the autism spectrum can include unusual and sometimes uncontrolled reactions to sensory information—for instance, to loud noises, bright lights, and certain textures of food or fabrics.