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Autistic behavior


Autistic behavior describes behavioral patterns similar to those seen in autism.


Autistic behavior includes:

  • Abnormal socialization (lack of need for interacting with others)
  • Abnormal speech patterns
  • Absent or poorly-developed verbal and nonverbal communication skills (inability to clearly express thoughts and needs)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to make friends
  • Repetitive body movements
  • Ritualistic behavior
  • Lack of eye contact

Several infections and nervous system (neurological) diseases can produce symptoms like those of autism.


Home Care

Home care depends on the cause of the behavior. The child's safety needs must always be considered.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if your child displays autistic behavior but is not known to be autistic.


Johnson CP, Myers SM. American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities. Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2007;120:1183-1215.

Dover CJ, Le Couteur A. How to diagnose autism. Arch Dis Child. 2007;92:540-545.

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Review Date: 4/25/2008
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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