Recognizing the Most Common Autism Symptoms of Toddlers

When you are trying to figure out the autism symptoms of toddlers, it can often be confusing. How much is just normal toddler behavior, how much is a phase of some sort, and how much is cause for serious concern? One thing that you can use to look at to help you decide is the child’s behavior.


Toddlers with autism will display many behavior related symptoms. They will have a marked need for routine, needing to do everything in the same way, every time. For example, if you always travel home from the grocery store the same way, your child might notice if you take a different route, and get very upset. Very likely, he will want to have the same things for breakfast and meals, and at the same time every day. Bed time should be kept consistent. This need for routine is a common autism symptom of toddlers and children.

Lining up Toys

A toddler might line up his toys repeatedly. This is a classic autistic symptoms that toddlers exhibit. He won’t play with them in the traditional way – there is a definite lack of imaginative play.

Typical kids might play house or give human-like qualities to inanimate objects. They might pretend they are having tea, or at a monster truck rally, or something of the like. They might pretend they have super powers.

Autistic kids, though, will take the same dolls or trucks their peers played with, and line them up. They will get very upset if someone tries to interrupt them from this. This desire to line up toys is another autism symptom of toddlers.

Other Autism Symptoms of Toddlers

There are several other autism symptoms that parents may notice in their toddlers such as:

  • Autistic kids don’t like to share things as much with others.
  • A typical kid will point to show things of interest to parents, but a toddler with autism won’t.
  • There will be lots of repetitive behaviors, and your child may seem interested in unusual things, like the slant of light through the window or the sound something makes. They may spend hours observing these things.
  • Kids with autism are not good with new situations. There will be a lot of screaming, yelling and meltdowns in general if they are made to try something new they haven’t done before.
  • Also, because of sensory issues, meltdowns are common in large crowds of people, and in close, crowded areas with other kids, due to the noise and commotion levels.
  • They are very detail oriented, and will notice things that you never would have about any object or situation.

Autism Symptoms of Toddlers Often Show in Preschool

Often, a toddler is considered just a little bit quirky until it is time for preschool or kindergarten, and then the parents will get a rude awakening when they see how different their child is from his peers.

Since autism in many cases has a genetic role to it, parents often might remember having similar, but less severe traits, and not think as much of some of the milder ones. Once at school, though, the gap between the child with autism and his typical peers is a big one.

Don’t worry; there is help available if you think that your child displays some of these autism symptoms of toddlers.

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