What an odd question. Unless they have Down’s syndrome along with their autism, no, they don’t. Even then, it’s not the autism that makes them look different, it’s the Down’s. It’s almost the same kind of excuse and tactic used by Nazi Germany to say Jews looked different and looking different was wrong.
In fact, let’s go that route. Let’s just say for one moment that kids with autism do look different. Are we, as a society, bothered by that? Should we even be bothered by how autistic kids look? Even if they look different, what do we intend to think, say or do about it?
The vast majority of children with autism that I have had the pleasure of meeting do not look any different than anyone else. In fact, I couldn’t know and didn’t know they had autism until I was told they did or it became apparent that their behavior suggested they were something apart from the average child. Their behaviors may present them as different, but the children do not appear physically different than their average counterparts. I have never seen a child with autism have physical facial features or other physical challenges that weren’t first diagnosed with another disorder that preempts autism as the primary disorder. Ergo, autistic kids do not look different than the average child or any one of their peers. On the contrary, I have seen some average children I thought had physical or mental challenges that in fact had none. You cannot judge a book by its cover, and that is most definitely true of autism.
Furthermore, a child with autism shouldn’t be treated worse or better than his or her peers. No matter where they are on the spectrum and what additional help and support they need, they should still be treated just like any other child. Treating them with kid gloves, i.e., gingerly, or being really strict and rough with them is completely unnecessary. They are kids. Treat them as kids and help them in the areas they have the most difficulty. Don’t segregate them because of what they have or do. That’s not only unfair to them, it’s illegal. They don’t look different; don’t treat them as though they are and looking different is bad. Being different are good; and these children especially need to know that it’s okay to be special. They need even more confidence because of bullies and other hardships they face because of their special needs. Let’s focus less on human appearance and more on helping each other.