I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.
If you’re here, you probably found this post on Google looking for “Signs of autism in adults“. If you’re wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope you’ll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why I’ve always felt different.
I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.
In the meantime, if you’ve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.
Signs of high-functioning Autism (Asperger’s) in adults:
Communication (Verbal and non-verbal):
- Difficulty seeing the other person’s perspective.
- Autistic people often have a hard time picking up on body and facial language cues.
- Difficulty making eye contact, discomfort during conversations
- Show compassion but may be confused by social signals and body language.
- Autistic people often repeat the same phrase or expression over and over again.
- Problems starting a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation. Small talk is very hard for me.
- Difficulty making out people’s intentions. For example, an autistic person may have a hard time understanding that someone is using humor or being sarcastic.
- Appear shy or avoid initiating social contact
- May have difficulty fitting in with other people due to not following social norms or ways of dressing yourself. Would rather be comfortable than stylish to a fault.
- Very few friendships and difficulty maintaining the ones you already have.
- May appear rude to other people.
- Trouble processing certain thoughts and expressing your needs to others.
- Difficulty with social imagination. Difficulty understanding idioms, people with autism often take things very literally.
- May have a social phobia.
- Repetitive behaviors. Things have to be a certain way. Rituals…
- Obsessive interests – Take a deep dive when interested in something
- Anxiety/depression, more than 2/3 of adults with autism also suffer anxiety and/or depression.
- Average or superior intelligence.
- Only a few areas of interests but can be very knowledgeable on one or more subjects.
- Stimming, unusual body movements. This one can be harder to spot because it becomes easier to hide as we get older. For instance, it can manifest as rocking or hand flapping.
- Clumsiness, lack of coordination.
- Sensory issues, from mild to severe. You can be over-sensitive or under-sensitive. Noises, textures, smells, tastes…
- Rigidity, love routine, autistic people become anxious when their daily routine is changed.
Here are some autism signs that we noticed in my son, Charlie between 18 months and 2 years old.
- Delayed Speech (note that with Asperger’s there is no speech delay)
- Speech Regression
- Does not answer to name
- Does not greet people
- Can not follow directions
- Cannot communicate needs
- Ignores other children
- Likes to be alone
- Avoids eye contact
- Is in his own world
- Sometimes gets scared or bothered for no apparent reason and covers his eyes/ears
- Lines up toys
- Can occupy himself for extended periods of time
- Focuses on details of his toys and misses their broader purpose (just spins the wheel on a car)
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Strange sleep habits (sleeps on floor, etc…)
- Gets frustrated easily
- Has obsessive interests (balls, wheels, light switches)
- Play with toys the exact same way for long periods of time (i.e. repetitively pouring water from one cup to another)
- Likes routines
- Gets “stuck” on things and can’t move to other activities
- Hand flapping
- Very picky eating
- Very attached to specific objects
- Throws intense temper tantrums
For a more in-depth article about some signs and symptoms of autism in children, check out my post here.
If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.