At the age of 5, typical signs of autism include a limited range of emotions, difficulties understanding the difference between what is and isn't real, and an inability to perform basic tasks without help, states Autism Science Foundation. Behavioral extremes, such as being overly shy, sad, fearful or aggressive, can also indicate autism.
In addition to emotional difficulties, signs of autism can include a lack of interest or a lack of ability to participate in common childhood activities, such as pretend play, games or drawing. Autistic children sometimes regress as they grow older, losing the ability to perform certain activities that they were able to perform in the past, according to Autism Science Foundation.
Autistic children often learn to speak at around the same time as their peers but later lose those same skills, as stated by WebMD. Seeking treatment as early as possible can help to mitigate some of the more challenging aspects of autism spectrum disorder.
As not all signs of autism are obvious, it is important for parents to pay close attention to their child's behavior and abilities. Most parents begin to notice signs of autism by the time a child is 3 years old, according to WebMD.