Symptom Tests

[Self-Test] Is My Child Autistic? Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder

If your child is acquiring social and communication skills slower than his or her peers, take this self-test for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and then share the results with a mental health professional for evaluation.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurobiological disorder characterized by difficulty communicating verbally and relating socially to others, alongside a need to engage in repetitive behaviors or language. Early symptoms often noted by parents include delayed speech, restricted interests, not responding to his or her name, and avoiding eye contact. No two children with autism will have the same symptoms. Warning signs might be easy to see in one person, and virtually invisible in another.

Take the self-test below to find out whether your child’s symptoms resemble those of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. A high score suggests it's appropriate to visit a trained healthcare professional for an evaluation.

This self-test was adapted from the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers — Revised (M-CHAT-R) designed to screen the possibility of ASD, and from The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test or CAST (formerly the “Childhood Asperger’s Syndrome Test”), developed by ARC (the Autism Research Centre) at the University of Cambridge, for assessing the severity of autism spectrum symptoms in children. If you have concerns about possible ASD see a mental health professional. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. This screener is for personal use only.

If you turn your head to look at something, does your child look around to see what you are looking at?
If something new happens, does your child look at your face to see how you feel about it? (For example, if they hear a strange or funny noise, will they look at your face before reacting?)
Does your child make unusual finger movements near their eyes? (For example, does your child wiggle their fingers close to their eyes?)

Can your child keep a two-way conversation going?

Does your child show you things by bringing them to you or holding them up for you to see — not to get help, but just to share? (For example, showing you a flower, a stuffed animal, or a toy truck.)
Does your child point with one finger to ask for something or to get help? (For example, pointing to a snack or toy that is out of reach.)
Does your child understand when you tell them to do something? (For example, if you don't point at the object, can your child understand "put the book on the chair" or "bring me the blanket?")

Is it important to your child to fit in with his or her peer group?

Does your child point with one finger to show you something interesting? (For example, pointing to an airplane in the sky or a big truck in the road. This is different from your child pointing to ask for something.)
Does your child try to copy what you do? (For example, do they wave bye-bye, clap, or make a funny noise when you do?)

Does your child enjoy playing sports? 

Does your child join in playing games with other children easily?
Does your child look you in the eye when you are talking to them, playing with them, or dressing them?
Does your child respond when you call their name? (For example, do they look up, talk or babble, or stop what they are doing when you call their name?)
Does your child play pretend or make-believe? (For example, pretend to drink from an empty cup, talk on a phone, or feed a doll or stuffed animal?)
Does your child like climbing on things? (For example, furniture, playground equipment, or stairs)
Does your child appear to notice unusual details that others miss?
Does your child come up to you spontaneously for a chat?
Does your child like to do things over and over again, in the same way all the time?
Does your child appear to have an unusual memory for details?
Does your child like movement activities? (For example, being swung or bounced on your knee)
Does your child have an interest that takes up so much time that they do little else?
If you point at something across the room, does your child look at it?
Does your child have difficulty understanding the rules for polite behavior?

Was your child speaking by 2 years old?

When you smile at your child, do they smile back at you? 
Have you ever wondered if your child might be deaf?
Does your child try to get you to watch them "perform" constantly? (For example, does your child look at you for praise, or say "look" or "watch me" a lot?)
Is your child interested in other children? (For example, does your child watch other children, smile at them, or go to them?)
Does your child get upset by everyday noises? (For example, do they scream or cry over noise such as a vacuum cleaner or loud music?)

(Optional) Would you like to receive your autism symptom test results — plus more helpful resources — via email from ADDitude?

Can’t see the self-test questions above? Click here to open this test in a new window.


Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children: Next Steps

1. Take This Test: Full ADHD Symptoms Test for Children
2. Take This Test General Anxiety Disorder for Children
3. Take This Test Could Your Child Have a Learning Disability?
4. Take This Test Sensory Processing Disorder for Children
5. Learn Why Some Children on the Autism Spectrum Are Misdiagnosed with ADHD
6. Read The Autism-Friendly Behavior Intervention Plan
7. Purchase  “9 Conditions Often Diagnosed with ADHD”

Updated on November 27, 2019

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