Becoming parents of a new-born child is nothing less than a remarkable experience. Still it can be full of anxiety. – ‘Will my child be a normal one?’ or ‘Will my child reach every developmental milestone without a hindrance?’

As an NDIS service provider, we often come across the concern of most of the parents involving ‘Autism’. Many parents ponder over the fact that excessive shyness in their child may be a sign of autism. That’s because the line between the two are quite marginal – as some of the behaviours are very similar.

How to Spot the Difference?

Though the signs and symptoms of autism can be difficult to spot, here are some key points likely to be noticed by the parents within 2 or 3 years if their child is suffering from autism:

  • Even though a shy child typically avoids eye contact with strangers, they will look up to their parents or care-provider or to anyone within his/her comfort-zone; whereas a child with autism is unlikely to make eye contact to their parent for support – they may not like eye contact even with those closest to them.
  • Also, a shy child may ‘warm up’ eventually i.e. after watching the action from the side-lines for a while; they will join in with others at playgroup or in the park. Over time, they may open up to more people and show more confidence in new situations. On the other hand, a child with autism, may not ‘warm up’ – even after spending a lot of time with others. They rather prefer to play alone.
  • The child with autism may not imitate you when you point at something or clap your hands.
  • They might get upset at some specific noises, smells or tastes.
  • Often, they develop a repetitive tendency i.e. they may do one thing over and over again, such as lining up their toys in a row.

If you’re concerned whether it could be a sign of autism, it’s always recommended to speak with a doctor or paediatrician. They may call in a team of experts, such as a child psychologist and speech pathologist or other relevant therapist.

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