Signs of Autism in Adults

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The quality and quantity of autistic signs displayed in adults can vary in each case. The key factors that determine the strengths and challenges of each autistic person may include the age of when they were diagnosed, whether they have a diagnosis at all and whether they choose to disclose their autism. The signs may also be dependent on gender. For example, autism can be harder to identify in women. Each situation is different, and this guide doesn’t have the purpose of being a tick-box exercise that determines whether a person is autistic or not. Instead, it has the intent of giving you some of the signs to look out for to help you support an autistic adult in the best way possible.

Common Signs of Autism in Adults

Here are some of the signs of autism you’re probably aware of due to mainstream media or prior discussions you’ve had about autism:

  • Difficulties in social situations. This can involve not understanding what others are thinking or feeling, repeating phrases, being blunt, rude, or disinterested, talking at others, avoiding eye contact, finding it hard to listen due to slower brain processing or taking what you say very literally if they don’t understand.
  • Engaging in repetitive behaviour. This consists of repeating the same phrases, flapping their hands, flicking their fingers, or rocking their body.
  • Heightened worry and anxiety. An autistic person can get very upset if they get asked to do something outside of their daily routine, the room conditions are unsuitable for them, or they are under time pressure created by deadlines.
  • Having interests or hobbies with intense focus. This can lead to an autistic person becoming an expert or recalling specific dates or events in that field.

Other Signs of Autism in Adults

Here are the signs of autism that aren’t covered as frequently. Some of these include strengths that can work in an autistic person’s favour. These are as follows:

  • Being agitated by low-key repetitive noises such as eating noises, keyboard noises, snoring or breathing.
  • Valuing honesty, punctuality, and reliability. Autistic people tend to prefer verbal, direct communication when arranging catch-ups, business meetings or dates. Any ambiguities or last-minute changes in the arrangement could overwhelm an autistic person. As a result, they would not do this to another person and like to treat others how they would like to be treated.
  • Using a structured approach to manage everyday life. Structure helps autistic people to create the steps required to complete a task or to plan for the future.
  • Autistic people may be capable of noticing small details in patterns, sounds, smells or textures that non-autistic people can’t.