Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: What are some "red flags" that might signal a need to evaluate the possibility of autism in a preschool-aged child?
Answer: For a preschool-aged child, we look for signs of autism primarily in their language and social behaviors. Young children with autism typically have delayed language and also if language is present, it's often different, unusual, very repetitive, where they will just repeat back things they've heard, repeating back a question rather than answering it.
In their social behavior, they show less interest in being around and doing things with other children as well as with adults. They don't enjoy games like hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo, duck-duck-goose -- those types of things. On a playground, they are more likely to play in the sand by themselves than go and show interest in other kids. And so, in addition, their play tends to be very repetitive -- they may do things like turn a car upside down and spin the wheels of the car for long periods of time.