Is My Child Shy Or Is It A Sign of Autism?

Many parents wonder if their child is shy or if it’s a sign of autism. In fact, according to the National Society for Autism (NSANSA), about two kids out of every 100 have some level of clinical autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

These children may experience varying degrees of social awkwardness, extreme anxiety around new people, and difficulty understanding non-verbal cues from others. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child has autism. Therefore, if you suspect your child lacks social skills or simply need some tips to get them more comfortable in new situations, read on for some insight.

What’s The Difference Between Shyness And Autism?

Before diving into how to get your child more comfortable in new situations, it’s important to understand the difference between shyness and ASD. Some experts argue that the two are really just different expressions of the same underlying disorder. However, there are some key differences between ASD and shyness, including whether or not the child has self-esteem issues or difficulty with their social skills.

Autism is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. People with ASD often have difficulty understanding non-verbal cues, have difficulty understanding and expressing emotions, and have an underdeveloped sense of boundaries. This results in many children having difficulties making friends, participating in school and peer groups, and forming meaningful relationships with others.

While many people with ASD struggle with communication, some may exhibit relatively normal levels of language and speech. However, they struggle to understand and respond to social cues from others. In other cases, typical speech and language skills may be severely impacted and result in extremely limited verbal communication.

The majority of children with autism share some degree of social awkwardness that causes them to avoid new situations or people. However, there are some children who struggle with extreme anxiety and fear that impacts their ability to function in daily life. This can often lead to extreme interrupting, self-injury, and even self-harm.

Can Test Scores Determine An Autistic Child?

For some parents, the possibility of autism is an inevitable discussion. After all, these children autism tend to often exhibit some of the same social skill deficits as children with ASD. While it’s important to remember that an autism diagnosis doesn’t mean your child will experience the full-blown symptoms of autism. Instead, these children may experience milder autism spectrum disorders.

While test scores may indicate a higher likelihood of autistic kids, they cannot determine whether or not a child has autism. Instead, the results of these tests provide a rough estimation of how autistic a child may be. However, they don’t take into account a child’s environment, temperament, and other factors that can contribute to social skill deficits.

Why Do Kids Become Shy?

Humans are social creatures and are always making social interactions. In fact, you’re unlikely to see a wild chimpanzee or orangutan interacting with other animals or humans. As such, it makes sense that humans must learn how to interact with other people.

While genetics and environment can contribute to a child becoming shy, there are a number of factors that may contribute to causing an increase in shyness. The most common reason for a child becoming shy is something called social inhibition. Essentially, a child may be shy because they are worried about making a mistake. This may be due to a fear of being judged, fear of embarrassment, or a fear of looking foolish. 

Kids naturally have different degrees of shyness, and most overcome it by the time they get to high school when they become comfortable around their peers. However, there are a number of reasons why children might be shyer than others. Some kids are just naturally more introverted than others, and this typically isn’t an issue until they enter kindergarten or elementary school, when they start interacting with their classmates for the first time.

Another reason why kids become shy is due to a change in their family life. For instance, if your child was born into a new culture and doesn’t know how to navigate it, it could cause him or her to be shy around others.

Tips for Getting Kids Out 

Kids are social creatures by nature. However, many children become shy around new people or situations out of nowhere. While there isn’t a single cause for this, there are some things you can do to help your child break out of their shell. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t force your child to make friends. If they become shy, simply don’t push them to make friends with that new person. There’s no need to be rude or condescending. Simply encourage your child to be themselves.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable in their own skin. If they feel like social outcasts, they won’t feel comfortable participating in group activities.
  • Include your child in regular family activities. This will help them learn how to interact with other people and break the ice with new people.
  • Be patient. Shy kids often learn social interaction with others through repetition and don’t need a child psychologist. The kid may be shy of the social settings sometimes.
  • Don’t compare your child to other children or make them feel bad for being shy. Children who feel self-conscious about their shyness often feel isolated. But, you can help your child feel less alone by encouraging them to be themselves.


Kids may become shy for many reasons while some have social anxiety disorder as they find it difficult to even make an eye contact. However, there are some things you can do to help your child break out of their shell. If necessary, you can practice with your child to help them become more comfortable in social situations. You can also make sure your child is comfortable in their own skin.

If necessary, you can find an adult buddy to help your child break the ice and become more comfortable in new situations. If you suspect your child is experiencing some social anxiety, talk to your doctor. Additionally, there are a number of things you can do to help your child become more comfortable in new situations.

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