The Power Of Play: Discovering Autism Signs In Young Children

Playtime for children is a world filled with colors, imagination, and discovery. It’s the time when they begin to explore their surroundings, understand their emotions, and build relationships with their peers. However, for some children, playtime is a little different. For some children, who may fall on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their approach to play might show signs that aren’t typically associated with average child development.

These signs aren’t always a surefire indication of autism, as every child is unique and develops at their own pace. However, being aware of potential signs can empower parents, caregivers, and educators with the knowledge to seek professional help if needed.

Here are six signs during playtime that could indicate your child might benefit from an autism evaluation:

1. Lack Of Social Interaction

Most children engage in cooperative play by age three or four, where they start to interact with others and play as part of a group. If your child shows signs of atypical play patterns, you may benefit from having them undergo the autism testing and screening process to indicate the reasons for these discrepancies accurately.

2. Rigid Patterns Of Play

Children with autism often display rigid and repetitive play patterns. They might prefer lining up their toys in a certain order, repeating a particular game over and over, or insisting on using certain toys for specific purposes only, demonstrating a strong resistance to change.

3. Lack Of Pretend Play

Imaginative or pretend play, such as playing house or acting out stories with toys, typically develops around age two

Children with ASD might struggle with this type of play. They may use toys exactly as they are intended (e.g., only driving a toy car back and forth) but may not use the car as a ‘pretend’ object in a broader imaginative scenario (e.g., pretending the car is a spaceship).

4. Difficulty With Non-verbal Communication

Autism Signs

Non-verbal communication forms a crucial part of play, as children use eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to express themselves. Children with autism may avoid eye contact and have difficulty interpreting or using non-verbal cues.

5. Sensory Issues

Children on the autism spectrum may either be hypersensitive or hypo-sensitive to sensory input. They might be fascinated with certain textures, colors, or sounds of their toys, or avoid playing with toys that are too bright, noisy, or texturally challenging for them.

6. Delayed Language And Communication Skills

Children with ASD often experience delays in language development. They might not respond when their name is called or might not use gestures to point or show things to others. This can be noticed during playtime when they struggle to articulate their needs, desires, or experiences of the game.


While these signs might indicate the possibility of autism, they are not conclusive proof. Each child’s developmental journey is unique and multi-faceted. However, if you observe any combination of these signs consistently, it might be beneficial to consult a developmental or behavioral pediatrician who can provide a thorough assessment and support.

Early identification of autism spectrum disorder is crucial in helping children access the support they need. The power of play serves as a window into a child’s mind, where parents and caregivers can observe and understand their child’s behavior and development.

Playtime isn’t just about having fun; it’s an opportunity for growth, learning, and understanding. Being attentive to your child’s play can make a significant difference in their life, especially for those who may be on the autism spectrum. Because every child deserves to play, explore, and grow in a world that understands and embraces their unique perspective.

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