Signs and Signals: the mystery of autism

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Swavalamban Blog

Autism is a complex disorder whose core aspects have distinct causes that often co-occur.It is the result of a neurological disorder that changes the way the brain functions — causing delays or problems in many different skills from infancy to adulthood.

unlocking the mystery of autism

unlocking the mystery of autism

Causes of Autism:

What are the exact causes that leads to Autism are still unclear and is  not well understood, but some factors are supposed to be responsible , which are listed below:

1. genetic causes that are highly heritable but not inherited

2.synaptic dysfunction

3. some rare mutations

4. teratogens i.e. agents that cause birth defects

5. other environmental causes include certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates and phenols used inplastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking.

brain in autism

brain in autism


Autism’s symptoms result from maturation-related changes in various systems of the brain. Its mechanism can be understood by studying the pathophysiology of brain structures and processes associated with autism, and the neuropsychological linkages between brain structures and behavior.


Diagnosis of Autism  is based on behavior exhibited by a child, and  not on the cause or mechanism.

All children with autism have problems with:

* Social Interaction – they way they relate to others
* Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
* Repetitive Behaviors or Interests

Onset must be prior to age three years, with delays or abnormal functioning in either social interaction, language as used in social communication, or symbolic or imaginative play.

Other Signs to look out for are as follows:

• No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
• No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
• No babbling by 12 months
• No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
• No words by 16 months
• No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
• Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

As children with autism get older they often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look. These symptoms can range from mild to severe – and will be different in different children.

Autistic children also tend to show some ‘typical‘ exhibitory behavior such as:



• Hand flapping
• Rocking back and forth

• Tapping ears
• Scratching

• Spinning in a circle
• Finger flicking
• Head banging
• Staring at lights
• Moving fingers in front of the eyes
• Snapping fingers

• Lining up toys
• Spinning objects

• Watching moving objects
• Flicking light switches on and off
• Repeating words or noises


As children with autism get older they often have unusual responses to sensory experiences, such as certain sounds or the way objects look. These symptoms can range from mild to severe – and will be different in different children.

areas of difficulty in autism

areas of difficulty in autism

As the child grows older, he or she may find it difficult to fit in social situations and these can be understood by noticing following signs:

• Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them.

• Does not know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.

• Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.

• Has trouble understanding or talking about feelings.

• Does not seem to hear when others talk to him or her.

• Does not share interests or achievements with others

• Does not  engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.

typical mannerism in autism

typical mannerism in autism

Children also face problem in daily communication skills and also find it difficult to interpret non-verbal cues.They used to:

• Avoids eye contact.
• Uses facial expressions that don’t match what he or she is saying.
• Does not understand other people’s facial expressions, tone of voice,and gestures.

• Does not points
• Reacts unusually, nay be over or under-sensitive to sights, smells, textures, and sounds
• Appears  clumsy, shows abnormal posture e.g. walking exclusively on tiptoe

Large number of children with autism are highly aware of and  painfully sensitive towards certain sounds, textures, tastes, and smells.

Some children find the feel of clothes touching their skin almost unbearable. Sounds of a vacuum cleaner, a ringing telephone, a sudden storm will cause these children to cover their ears and scream.

Many children with autism have some mental dysfunction. When tested, some areas of ability may be normal, while others may be especially weak.

So it is very important to have understanding regarding the typical signs which the children with Autism shows….

Always remember that these children will need your support, understanding and encouragement in every sphere of their lives…

Come..lets Care n Share…

Dr P Pathak

One Comment

  1. Keep the good work going.