Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and hearing loss share some similar symptoms and behaviours in young children, which could make diagnosing one or the other difficult.
Examples of these symptoms include:
- Poor eye contact
- Delayed development of social skills
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Echolalia, or repeating others’ speech
If you notice that your child is not responding to sounds well and are delayed in learning speech, get their hearing tested. Hearing can change at any time because of being exposed to loud noises, certain medications, infections, and more. So even if your child had a hearing test done in the past, seeing a hearing professional first is still a good idea to rule out or diagnose potential hearing disorders.
If a child has been diagnosed with a hearing loss, an ASD diagnosis could often be missed or delayed because of the shared symptoms.
Some ASD signs to look for include:
- Unwillingness to adapt to change
- Avoiding and being over-sensitive to certain lights, smells, tastes, and textures
- Head hitting when upset or anxious
- Not communicating feelings through facial expression or body language
Autism and Sight or Hearing Loss- The Autism Society