Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: What are some "red flags" that might signal a need to evaluate the possibility of autism in an elementary school-aged child?
Answer: In an elementary school-aged child, typically when we first see a child of this age, they have some degree of language, but they have difficulty in going back and forth, to-and-fro conversations, having social chats and difficulty with repeating back things they've heard on TV or the movies, repeating back scripts and long segments, and tend to focus on very specific topics and have difficulty switching topics.
They also tend to have difficulty in structured social activities -- don't go to parties very often. If they are in structured sports activities like soccer, they may start out the game playing and then end up on the sidelines pacing by themselves. They may be the first kids to lose interest in the social activities. And then they may have repetitive behaviors and interests, be overly focused on certain topics like dinosaurs or trains and have difficulty doing something that another child wants to do.