Hi and thanks for your question. It can be difficult to identity Autistic Spectrum Disorder in young children. There are many other disorders and conditions that may present in a similar manner. In general, autism is characterised by a triad of impairments (social communication, social interaction, and social imagination) Children often have delayed language development or demonstrate a regression e.g. lose words they previously had. Children with ASD often find it difficult to play socially or functionally with toys. They may engage in repetitive behaviour and may not seek out others including family members for the purpose of social interaction It is also recognised that children with Autism often have sensory difficulties e.g. they may only eat certain foods or cannot tolerate certain textures or sensations.
If you have specific concerns, I would advise seeing a professional for evaluation. A speech therapist could provide guidance if the primary area of concern is in the area of communication. Early Intervention Services also provide diagnostic services if your child is presenting with more than one area of need. A Clinical Psychologist provides a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and could also provide guidance on behavioural issues.
If you want to provide me with more information about your child I can try to give you more specific advice. There is also more information about Autism on this website..Thanks again Frances.