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Does a child have autism if he only talks to his immediate family?

A child who only speaks to his immediate family does not necessarily have autism. In fact, if his speech and interaction with his own family are completely normal, then he does not have autism. The diagnosis of autism includes problems with social development, communication and ritualistic behavior. A child is not autistic if he only has problems in one of these areas.

Autism is not the only reason that a child may not speak with his or her peers. Some children with social anxiety or children who are shy many have difficulty interacting with individuals outside of his or her family. It would be important to assess the child’s eye contact, play skills, pragmatic language, and gesturing. 

If your child is able to have normal conversations and relationships with family members and does not show any other signs of an autistic spectrum disorder, then it is possible they would have a different diagnosis, including selective mutism, anxiety, sensory integration disorder, etc.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.