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- ?Lv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
Autism is a life-long condition. While specific manifestation of symptoms may change over the course of someone's lifetime, the diagnostic criteria stays the same regardless of age.
In order to get a diagnosis of classic autism (autistic disorder), one must have all of the following:
1. Marked delays in language development
2. Significant social delays, including not being able to make eye contact (or being unaware of its importance), inability to initiate play with others, etc. Social awkwardness alone is not necessarily autism - those who have autism also struggle to understand and often have to be explicitly taught things like eye contact, responding to their own name, how to point and understand when others point, etc. These are skills most toddlers pick up on their own and do not need any explicit instructions on.
3. Restrictive or repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping, spinning in circles, lining things like toys up obsessively, having to follow strict routines or rituals that have no purpose.
In order to have a diagnosis of Apergers, it's the same as above except no marked delays in language development.
Again, both of these are life-long conditions so if one is noticing only social problems and they have only manifested in the pre-teen or teen years, then it's not autism (one would also need to have restrictive/repetitive behaviors, as well social problems)