Table 3

National Autism Plan For Children (NAPC): plan for the identification, assessment, diagnosis and access to early interventions for preschool and primary school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)1

Warnings of possible ASD in school-age children: warning signs
Communication impairments
    Abnormalities in language development including muteness
    Odd or inappropriate prosody
    Persistent echolalia
    Reference to self as “you”, “she” or “he” beyond 3 years
    Unusual vocabulary for child’s age/social group
    Limited use of language for communication and/or tendency to talk freely only about specific topics
Social impairments
    Inability to join in play of other children or inappropriate attempts at joint play (may manifest as aggressive or disruptive behaviour)
    Lack of awareness of classroom “norms” (criticising teachers, overt unwillingness to cooperate in classroom activities, inability to appreciate or follow current trends)
    Easily overwhelmed by social and other stimulation
    Failure to relate normally to adults (too intense/no relationship)
    Showing extreme reactions to invasion of personal space and resistance to being hurried
Impairments of interests, activities and/or behaviours
    Lack of flexible cooperative imaginative play/creativity
    Difficulty in organising self in relation to unstructured space (eg, hugging the perimeter of playgrounds, halls)
    Inability to cope with change or unstructured situations, even ones that other children enjoy (school trips, teachers being away etc)
Other factors
    Unusual profile of skills/deficits
    Any other evidence of odd behaviours including unusual responses to sensory stimuli
  • Reproduced with permission from Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN).7