Special Needs

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders are lifelong developmental disorders characterized by impairments in all of the following areas of development: communication, social interaction, restricted repertoire of activities and interests, and associated features, which may or may not be present (e.g., difficulties in eating and sleeping, unusual fears, learning problems, repetitive behaviours, selfinjury and peculiar responses to sensory input).


If the child presents any of the following behaviours, consider this a red flag:

Social Concerns

 Does not smile in response to another person

 Delayed imaginative play - lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play

 Prefers to play alone, decreased interest in other children

 Poor interactive play or Lack of "joint engagement" (e.g., does not play Peek-a-Boo games)

 Poor eye contact - this does not mean it is absent

 Less showing, giving, sharing and directing others’ attention than expected for his/her age

 Any loss of social skills at any age (regression)

 Prefers to do things for him/herself rather than ask for help

 Awkward or absent greeting of others

Communication Concerns

 Language is delayed or atypical

 Inconsistent response or does not respond to his/her name or instructions

 Unusual language - repeating phrases from movies, echoing other people, repetitive use of phrases, odd intonation

 Decreased ability to compensate for delayed speech by gesture/pointing

 Poor comprehension of language (words and gestures)

 Any loss of language skills at any age (regression), but particularly between 15 and 24 months

 Inability to carry on a conversation

Behavioural Concerns

 Severe repeated tantrums due to frustration, lack of ability to communicate, interruption of routine, or interruption of repetitive behaviour, and other unknown reasons

 Narrow range of interests that she engages in repetitively

 Unusual response to pain (high or low tolerance) and lack of safety awareness

 Insistence on maintaining sameness in routine, activities, clothing, etc.

 Repetitive hand and/or body movements: finger wiggling, hand and arm flapping, tensing of fingers, complex body movements, spinning, jumping, etc.

 Unusual sensory interests (e.g. visually squinting or looking at things out of the corner of the eye, smelling, licking, mouthing objects and/or hypersensitive hearing)

 Unusual preoccupation with objects (e.g., light switches, fans, spinning objects, vertical blinds, wheels, balls)

Having concerns about a child's development?

Having difficulty coping? Need some advice?