Quick links: MyODP ASDNext AidInPA PhillyAP

Signs of Autism: A Guide for Librarians

A librarian is helping teens. The teens are looking at a book in the library


Tips & Resources


This visual resource was developed by ASERT for librarians to use as a reference guide when working with individuals with autism.

Repetitive Behaviors

  • Flapping, flicking, spinning, rocking
  • Focuses on one topic/detail that is unrelated to the conversation
  • Scripting or repeating sounds
    • (e.g. repeat lines of a television show or movie)

Mental Processes

  • Displays poor impulse control
    • (e.g. constantly touching an object despite being told/given consequences)
  • Processing delay/Unable to follow a chain of commands
    • (e.g. put your coat on the chair, sit down, and put your phone on the table)

Sensory Behaviors

  • May be sensitive to touch
    • especially if unexpected
  • Overwhelmed by sensory environment
    • (e.g. covers ears, eyes, nose)

Social Communication

  • Flat vocal affect
    • (e.g. voice stays at one tone with little to no inflection)
  • Unusual facial grimaces
  • Avoidance of eye contact or blank stare throughout conversation
  • Individual has no friends or is socially isolated
  • May appear stubborn, defiant, or non-compliant with requests
  • Atypical or stiff body language flat facial expressions
  • Overly literal interpretation of questions
  • Increased aggravation/anxiety during interview
  • Overly agreeable
  • Appears to have a lack of sympathy or empathy

Key Signs

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Flapping, Flicking, Spinning
  • Sensitive to touch
  • May appear stubborn/resistant
  • Scripting words, phrases, or noises
  • Processing delays

Rate this resource

Thank you for rating this resource!

Download entire resource (pdf)

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.