About Autism All About Autism Signs of Autism in School Age Children Although every individual on the autism spectrum has different needs and displays different symptoms, there are signs that you can look out for if you think that you or someone you know might have autism. It is likely that sensory needs will become more apparent in school age children. They may become upset in noisy, echoic or very brightly lit places. Their methods of sensory stimulation (hand flapping, rocking etc.) may be more pronounced and they may become more particular about the foods they eat. At this age you might begin to notice an aptitude for certain things such as Maths, English or Art. A common misconception is that autism is a learning difficulty but this is not the case and people on the spectrum can be exceptionally bright. Spoken language Preferring to avoid using spoken language at all A reluctance to form new sentences or expand their speech and sticking to pre-learned phrases Difficulties in holding a two-way conversation and seeming to ‘talk at people’ Interacting with others Taking what people say to them completely literally Difficulties understanding sarcasm, metaphors, and figures of speech Negative reactions, when asked to do something, may now be more obvious and challenging Not being aware of other people’s personal space or being unusually intolerant of people coming into their personal space Having few friends and/or a lack of desire to make friends Seemingly unaware of normal social interaction such as saying hello or goodbye Behaviour Preferring to play with objects rather than people Developing a highly specific interest in a subject or activity Becoming extremely attached to a certain toy or object Reluctance or refusal to go to school Behaviour may be becoming more challenging. When upset, you might see violence, aggression, shouting, self-injurious behaviour, inappropriate touching, smearing or pica (eating non-edible items) For information about getting a diagnosis, click here.