Autism Behaviours

What are some autism behaviours?

Not all behaviours are autism behaviours!  Knowing the difference will help you better understand your child.  It will help you decipher all the different behaviours your child may have.

To start with you will need to understand what autism is

Autism is a spectrum disorder with a shared core of symptoms.  Each child with autism or autistic adult will have problem with social/emotional interaction, language/communications and repetitive/restrictive behaviours. 

Each person with ASD will also have a different combination of symptoms.  Merely having a few autism-like symptoms does not make a person autistic. 

ASD is diagnosed specifically based on the presence of multiple symptoms.  An autism diagnosis will be made if a child’s symptoms disrupt his/her ability to communicate, speak, bond with people, integrate into groups, adapt to change, react to sensory input, explore, play, learn and form relationships.

It is fair to then say that autistic behaviour will also relate directly to only these challenges.  For example:

  • A lack of responsiveness when being spoken to
  • Unusual body language gestures or facial expressions (most common would be a lack of eye contact)
  • Difficulty with controlling emotions when it comes to turn taking or sharing
  • A preference to being alone (not wanting to participate in group-activities)
  • Particular fondness for being outside, playing with water, jumping on trampolines and an emotional response when asked to stop what they are doing
  • Clear difficulty understanding people’s feelings and a resistance to wing touched or hugged
  • Delay in communication or language development
  • Other speech challenges like echoing oposed to using functional speech
  • Scripting language from television or the IPad to use in everyday life oposed to using functional speech
  • Restricted behaviours in a variety of situations
  • Repetitive body movements


Fighting, lying, shyness or even tantrums are all part of childhood development.  All children fight and have tantrums.  These behaviours need to be addressed in the same way you would address behaviour in a typically developing child it is the ones related to your child’s autism that requires specialized autism early intervention.

Ilse Kilian-Ross
ilse@amazingk.co.za

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.