Many of us know or understand thanks to educational programmes what behaviour indicates that a child is autistic and what traits or behaviours should be sought in the child to be sure. Not many of us, however, pay attention to what behaviours will never be seen in an autistic child.
First problem: proximity
Children with autism don’t try to stay close to other people, and they are more often disturbed by having to share the same personal space. Sometimes you can see that a child is avoiding contact or proximity, maintaining a clearly visible distance. This behaviour may occur more often when a child is over- or understimulated, in other words, when there is too much going on at the same time, or just the opposite: when the child is bored.
Second problem: concentration
Children with autism can focus very intensely and maintain this focus for long periods of time. They can’t, however, change the object of their concentration very often without a certain cost. Another issue is the problem with excessive amounts of stimuli – this can result in significant mood swings or even tantrums, because the child can’t process so many stimuli.
Third problem: seclusion
A child with autism will sometimes react to stress by running away, trying to shut off or leave behind all stressful stimuli. He will not come to his carers for reassurance and comfort, but try to isolate himself. This can be dangerous and many parents worry a lot over this behaviour, and with good cause.