How to know if my son has mild or severe autism?

Hi everyone. I am new here, last week, my 22-month-old son has been diagnosed autism, the psychologist told us he doesn't know yet if he is asperger, atypical, etc. By now he said  his intelligence seems not affected. How did you knew your kid had mild or severe Autism? I think my son doesn't have many symptoms.  Still I accept the fact he has autism. Here I write a couple of the symptoms my son has at the moment. 


  1. He doesn’t answer when we call his name, he doesn’t follow directions, only when i sing a song about putting his shoes on, he knows we are going out so he brings the shoes to me so i can help him to put them on, because he loves being outside.
  2. He doesn’t smile back, but when he is really happy he takes my hand or hugs me so we can jump or dance together, he does it with his father too or with his grandma when we are not around.
  3. He doesn’t make enough eye contact, sometimes he just looks at strangers and wants to touch their eyes, nose, mouth, like if they were an object, but after he checked the person he just ignore them like they weren’t there. He makes better eye contact with me.
  4. When he wants to know the name of some object or letter or number he doesn’t know, he looks at me in the eye showing me the object or pointing at the book he is “reading”, and he waits until he gets a response.
  5. He doesn’t point to show me what he likes, or what he finds cool. He just do it to ask for help.
  6. He likes to play alone, he was in nursery for 2 months and he would always play alone.
  7. He likes letters and numbers, he recognizes many letters of the alphabet and numbers from 1-10. He likes counting every step he takes or every detail from the stuff he plays with.
  8. He doesn’t move his hands in a weird way or anything, he moves his head saying know sometimes but very rarely, maybe twice a week.
  9. He mimics only the characters of the tv, he hardly does it with us.
  10. When we teach him how to play he does it sometimes, for 1 minute and then when he learns how to, he goes away and looks for another toy to play with.
  11. He likes playing with my hair, that makes him relax.
  12. He used to be very friendly until 15 months old.
  13. He says around 20 words btw these words, numbers, alphabet letters, animal sounds, some colors, geometric forms, and he says it only to himself not to show us he knows it, sometimes he hides behind the sofa with his book and “reads” and points the pictures and says the name out loud or just makes words out when he doenst know whats the name of the object.  We are a bilingual family speaking German and Spanish at home . Most of the words he speaks at home is Spanish because I am the one who speaks it, and we are all day together, sometimes he seems to say words in german at night when he is trying to sleep but they don’t make any sense with the context or moment… its like he just repeats what he heard during the day.
  14. He doesn’t seem to be sensitive to loud sounds, sometimes he seems not to hear it but some other times he just look+++s at the direction where the sound comes from just to make sure what it is, and then he goes back to his stuff, we were in an airplanes show a couple months ago and he didn’t care about the airplanes loud noises , he loved to see the helicopters. -Extra: when he was born he didn’t cry like the other new-borns in the hospital, he was always quiet, he didn’t eat for 2 days because he fell asleep while eating, he would wake up in the middle of the night, without crying or asking for milk, I catch him once when he was only 1 day old looking at me like analysing me, like if he could see perfectly. I got a bit scared... he didn’t cry when he got vaccinated until he turned 1 year old, he would cry a Little bit and after distracting him he would smile again. He seemed very mature for his age at that time, he slept all night, 12 hours long and ate at morning.
  15. He doesn’t walk on his toes, or spins objects or spins himself, he doesn’t line up objects, he just separates sometimes by form or colour, but not always, he likes to put objects inside and out of the toys box. He likes hiding his toys in specific places, like his letters under the sofa and the balls behind the doors, so most of the times we know where he hides things. And he knows it too. He doesn’t-t want everything in a specific order.
  16. He likes lights but he doesn’t-t get obsessed with it. He is only obsessed with colors, animal sounds and letters.
  17. He dances when he hears music, sometimes try to sing.



Sorry for my bad English, it’s been a long time I don’t speak it or write it, and sorry for the long post. I hope someone could tell me how can I know what kind of autism has my son, or if I should wait a little bit more…


Thanks in advance!

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  • Don't think of it in terms of mild or severe.

    - Different autistic people have different strengths, weaknesses and unique presentations. Is a child that struggles with light and sound sensitivity more 'severely' autistic than one that lines things up and enjoys sorting through his/her extensive collections of objects? No, they're just different. Your son's traits and presentation will be unique to him, and so the focus should be on what he needs at any given time and not where he compares to other people.

    - Autistic traits can change and develop over time, as well as in certain situations, making it extremely difficult to put a label on anything. He might seem mildly autistic when he's at home, in a safe space and with people that understand and meet his needs, but seem severely autistic when he has a meltdown at a family fun day because of the crowds. One boy might be non-verbal at 6 years old, and at 30 run his own successful tech company. Still the same person, still the same autism. Time and situation will change everything, and at different stages in his life your son might seem more or less severely autistic, but ultimately it's all always wrapped up in the package that is him.

    - What's going on inside may not always match what you see outside. He might seem not to be struggling, when he's struggling enormously. His coping mechanisms may mask what he's actually going through. Meanwhile, at times when he seems 'more autistic', he may actually be considering himself to be doing quite well.

    - As Trainspotter says, a label isn't necessarily just inaccurate. It's also potentially very damaging. Mild autism says that people should be able to live independently, shouldn't be struggling as much as they are. Perhaps mild autism says that people should be geeky, not that they should actually be struggling. Meanwhile, severe autism can imply a lack of understanding, awareness, intelligence, ability. It's the severe autism label that gets non-verbal autistic individuals spoken about when they're standing in the room, or has a mentally capable 20 year old non-verbal adult listening to nursery rhymes on repeat because that's all someone thinks they're capable of, and nobody's given them a method of communication that allows them to ask for it to stop.

    Your son doesn't have mild or severe autism. He has autism. His autism. Something that you'll need to learn about alongside him. Ultimately, you can't know what's coming - and even when you think you've got it worked out, it could all change again suddenly. So don't focus on the label, but on him - you've created a wonderful list of what he enjoys, what he's like, what he does do and what he doesn't do. That's the important bit.

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