The degree of severity of characteristics differs from person to person. The most common are:
Severe delays in language development. Language is slow to develop, if it develops at all. If it does develop, it usually includes peculiar speech patterns of the use of words without attachment to their normal meaning. Those who are able to use language effectively may still use unusual metaphors or speak in a formal or monotonous voice.
Severe delays in understanding social relationships. An autistic child often avoids eye contact, resists being picked up, and seems to "tune out" the world around him. This results in a lack of co-operative play with peers, an impaired ability to develop friendships and an inability to understand other people's feelings.
Inconsistent patterns of sensory responses. A child who has autism may appear at times to be deaf and fail to respond to words or other sounds. At other times, the same child may be extremely distressed by an everyday noise such as a vacuum cleaner or a dog's barking. A child may also show an apparent insensitivity to pain and a lack of responsiveness to cold or heat, or may over-react to any of these.
Uneven patterns of intellectual functioning. An individual may excel in a particular skill - such as drawing, music, calculations in math, or memorization of facts with no... [continues]
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