ABA Therapy

Child Development Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Child sitting on a window ledge - Child Development Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A blog from Positive Behavior Services

Being able to recognize signs of Autism spectrum Disorder in a child’s development may help you catch the disorder early which is beneficial to your child. Early detection and resultant early intervention will benefit your child in so many ways.

Creating a treatment plan of services and therapies early on in a child’s life will allow them to thrive in all areas as they grow. Specifically, the intervention of Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy (ABA Therapy), an individualized therapy, can work wonders for a child with Autism. Although warning signs can vary widely among children, there are some telltale markers, consistent among most children with ASD, that it helps to be aware of. Below we’ll take a look at the signs in childhood development that may be indicative of ASD, as well as how ABA can be significantly helpful to improving your child’s development and functionality. .

Common Signs of ASD

Common warning signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children deal with communication, social engagement, behavioral flexibility, and regression in any of these areas.


Children with ASD often have difficulty communicating and verbalizing their messages. If you notice that your infant child is not developing verbal communication commensurate with age-appropriate milestones, it may be a sign of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Social Engagement

Monitoring your child’s social development and engagement may also provide warning signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Impaired social skills typically become more obvious as children get older. Some signs of social impairment include a disinterest in other people, an inability to connect with other children, an aversion to physical touch, a detachment from group games or creative play, difficulty understanding/expressing feelings, unresponsive when spoken to, and a disinterest in sharing his/her interests and achievements.

Behavioral Flexibility

Watching for your child’s behavioral indicators can also help identify ASD. Signs of inflexibility concerning routine and behavior are cause for concern. The following inflexible behaviors may be indicative of ASD: strict adherence to a known schedule or routine, difficulty adapting to changes in routine or environment, strong attachment to toys or objects, preoccupation with narrowly focused topics, long periods of focus on moving objects (like a ceiling fan), and repetitive actions or movements.

Speech Development

If you think your child may have ASD, it could help to monitor his/her speech development and difficulties. Common warning signs of ASD concerning speech development include atypical inflection, tone, rhythm, or pitch, repetition of words/phrases, repeating questions instead of answering, poor grammar, referring to himself/herself in the third person, trouble communicating needs/desires, inability to follow simple instructions, and difficulty recognizing humor and sarcasm (takes too literally).

Repetitive Behaviors

The presentation of atypical repetitive behaviors may also be indicative of ASD. Some common repetitive behaviors may include rocking back and forth, flapping hands, spinning, tapping, scratching, staring, and headbanging. Although these behaviors are a common presentation of repetitive behaviors, certainly any repetitive behavior can be a warning sign of ASD.


Any developmental regression in a child’s growth could be an indication of ASD. If a child initially meets communication, speech, and behavioral milestones but then starts to regress, especially in speech and language abilities, it’s concerning. In this case, consulting the child’s pediatrician is recommended.

If you observe these ASD warning signs in your child, consider getting an evaluation. If a diagnosis of ASD is given, don’t lose hope. While the causes of ASD are debated, there are widely agreed upon strategies for addressing its symptoms.

How can ABA help children diagnosed with autism?

ABA Therapy adapts to individual needs through a flexible treatment plan, implementing therapies at home, in school, and within the community. ABA Therapy’s primary goal is to foster the development of life skills in children with ASD. This might involve one-to-one therapy at home or group sessions in school and communities. By consistently applying therapeutic exercises throughout all aspects of a child’s life, significant advancements can be achieved. ABA Therapy employs techniques like positive reinforcement, behavioral analysis, and the management of antecedents and consequences to facilitate progress

The important point to understand about ABA is that it is an individualized approach, so no two children with ASD receive the same program. Also, it is an ever-evolving approach. Simply, the implementation of ABA Therapy requires analysis, planning, goal-setting, measuring outcomes, and constant reevaluation and tweaking.

Medical research supports the ABA approach. The Surgeon General endorses ABA Therapy and recognizes it as an evidence-based, best-practice treatment. With widespread availability of awareness and therapies like ABA throughout the country, an ASD diagnosis no longer needs to lead to despair. Instead, ABA provides families with hope that their child’s development and functionality can progress beyond their current circumstances.

If you have concerns about your child’s development and worry they may be exhibiting signs of ASD, we suggest discussing these concerns with your pediatrician. Certainly, they can lead you in the right direction of testing your child and finding ABA Therapy providers.