Autism and Interoception

How are you feeling?

Have you ever heard of interoception?
This a sensory function which is still being described, and there is still some disagreement over what its definition should include.

Interoception is the sense of your inner self which includes the ability to feel what is going on inside you.

The initial definitions were about giving a person ability to recognize inner physical symptoms of needs: when you felt hungry, thirsty, needed to go to the bathroom, felt pain or discomfort in your internal workings.

The definition has been refined over time and using recent studies now includes also your emotional status.

Studies are in the initial stages but tend toward showing that neurological ties to the inner body are the same that are used for ‘feeling’ emotions, and that yes, emotions are tied to physical feelings as well.


We all know that, if we think about it. Tension headaches, anxiety stomach aches, the burning that comes with anger and the churning gut of distress, and how do you suppose the term ‘heartache’ was coined?

Right now there is debate over which comes first, the physical sensations or the emotional processes involved in recognizing ones “feelings”. Some scientists are saying that the physical responses are the initial ones which cause us to then recognize the emotions behind them.

I think the jury is still out on that idea, but it is interesting to think about the implications.


Interoception as it is described today is related to recognizing physical and emotional status of our inner selves. It is the neurological sense that tells us ‘how we feel’ in the most literal way.

How is this likely to be tied to autism?

Interoception is believed to exist because of human neurology. It is being defined as another sense.
We are equipped with an internal monitor through a network of nerves which sense and report “how we feel”.

Autism being a function of neurology and strongly tied to sensory processing, can show its effects in any part of the human neurological system.
Many autistic people are not good at recognizing when they are hungry, thirsty, tired, whether their bladder is full, and on and on.
We are notoriously poor at sorting our emotions as well.
All of these issues are related to interoception because they are all issues of sensory processing within us.

I will use imaginary Sally as an example.
Sally was late to be toilet trained, she simply was not able to tell when she ‘had to go”. She often wet the bed. Her body did not wake her when her bladder was full because it did not recognize that discomfort.
Sally had a ruptured appendix when she was 25, and did not recognize the abdominal ache, which she reported as vague and undefined. She finally had uncontrollable vomiting which drove her to the emergency room where she was barely in time for her life to be saved by immediate surgery.
Sally will get so involved in a project that she forgets to eat, and when she finally does eat, she does not know when to stop, often getting sick from overeating.
She is known for her volatile temper and her extreme emotional outbusts.
All those struggles are likely to have their base in processing input from her interoceptive system.

Do you have signs of interoceptive struggles in your own life?

autism and proprioception

You are Here X

One thing we discussed as I finally got my official diagnosis was my lack

of coordination. I tend to cut corners short and run my shoulder or knee into

the wall or the furniture. I am constantly hitting my toes against chair legs or

failing to step high enough when going up steps. I can trip over air! I often put out a hand as I walk along a hall, always hold onto the stair rail, touch things as I pass them to help myself be aware of how far away I am from them.

I mentioned lack of depth perception making it difficult for me to judge the

speed of anything coming my way… a thrown item will hit me in the face,

while driving I tend to overcompensate in allowing the space between me and oncoming

traffic when pulling out from parking or a stop sign.

The doctor said “that is not a problem with depth perception, that is a problem of proprioception”.

I had heard the term before. The Dr explained that almost every person he diagnosed with autism had struggles with proprioception. He thinks these struggles are directly linked to autism. ( that is not part of the DSM V, but it has been something that Dr has used to help when he looked for autism in persons he worked with) .

I decided to look more closely. Proprioception is the word used to describe our sense
of where we are in time and space. Proprioception uses our whole body’s nervous system to determine how to use our bodies, tell if we are upright, feel movement and know what movement we ourselves are performing… it is the sense that helps us keep our balance, that helps us walk, be seated, to catch and throw a ball, and to do complex movements of our fingers and hands.

Proprioception tells us how much pressure to use when handling something delicate or how much force to use to close the back door or how hard to hit with the hammer while driving a nail.
Proprioception is used when sitting in my chair typing on my keyboard… am I upright? Is my seat firmly in place on the chair? How hard must I press the keys to produce the words I am seeing in front of me? I can feel that my feet are apart a few inches and flat on the floor. If I want to rise, I use proprioception to judge how much strength I must use to push myself away from the desk, to lift myself into standing upright postion, and to know when I have done these things. Some call proprioception the 6th sense.

Problems with proprioception can be the reason some of us struggle with issues of “personal space”, either our own or in perceiving the space of others.

We use our other senses to create proprioception within us. Removing vision, for example, makes it more difficult to sense motion around us and relate to the motion of other entities. It makes it more difficult to judge where we are- our position in space relating to everything else.
The same for the sense of touch. Do we know we have our feet on the floor, the fingers on the keyboard, or our seats firmly in the chair if we can’t feel them? Proprioception keeps us oriented in the world. We use it in many ways every day.

My reported problems with balance and coordination are directly related to the fact that the input I receive is not constant, or is not processed correctly, making it difficult for me to keep my balance when doing anything while in motion.


I think it also is responsible for my sense of fear or being overwhelmed in wide open spaces, or when looking down on open spaces… say, from a window in a multiple storied building. The fear that I will fall overcomes me and I am frozen to the spot.

I could not get out of the car in the parking lot when we visited the Grand Canyon years ago. I was filled with terror and fear of falling, seeing the huge open and deep spaces outside the windows. I was miserable with fear and ridiculed for that!

I get motion sickness easily and frequently.

I learned to ride a bike at age 10 and was terrible at it, I gave it up by the time I was 12 due to fear of falling off, which I did on a regular basis. No fun in it for me, even though it made my trip to the candy shop much quicker.

I fell off my horses frequently.

I am overcautious and hypervigilant as a driver or a passenger, safe, but because I know I must compensate for my inability to judge space and speed with much accuracy. Thank goodness for the speed regulating devices that one can ‘set’ on today’s cars.

One of my family nicknames was “grace” because there was not a graceful bone in my body.

Do you struggle with issues surrounding proprioception? If you are autistic, you probably have experienced these issues or ones like it.

Again, to clarify: problems with proprioception are not listed in the DSM V as being diagnostic of autism, and many people who are not autistic may also have problems with proprioception. There are therapies available which may help some proprioception issues. Look up ” sensory integration” to learn more.

Reaction to Diagnosis

I don’t know if it is the same at any age

I have not looked at any studies, but I participate in several autism based groups online. Ideas stated here have for the most part been formed on my own experience with encountering autism, and reported experiences from adults in online groups I belong to.
Each person’s experiences and perceptions will of course be different.

I think it might be a bit more difficult to shift gears as we age. Autism is known to cause rigid thinking. We older autistic folk have had plenty of practice at forming rigid ideas by the time we reach our 60’s.
Is late diagnosis of autism more shocking to those of us who are elderly? I suspect that it is.

As older adults, we have overcome or adapted to many struggles alone.
We have spent a lifetime believing we are “normal” but also believing we are somehow different, incompetent, selfish, bad, wrong, stupid, useless, thoughtless, inept, uncaring, rude, intrusive, hateful, and on and on… a litany of fixed ideas in our older and less flexible brains, learned in our earlier life and more or less accepted as inner truths because we did not know about autism. We have set ideas about ourselves and others and how the world as we see it works.

We may have wondered why we struggled, but learning at last,( although it is sometimes a relief), that autism is the answer, we may suddenly find ourselves scrambling to find a new platform to view our innermost selves.

It is as if the ground we have stood upon for so many years is crumbling.

The foundations of the house we built our ideas on is being torn down.

We will need time to replace these with ideas about our selves and how our diagnosis of autism makes everything different.

Many older people report feeling shocked at first, even though they knew, deep inside that somehow they were ‘different’.
Knowing about autism changes all of the concepts and precepts we may have held about ourselves and our world.
Knowing that we have been wrong in the way we understood almost everything in our worlds, well, that is a lot to digest!


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Let me insert a warning here. Your autism is hugely important to you, but it will be of little consequence to most all of the people around you. They will be likely to react by passing off the information of your self discovery lightly, and assuring you that they still love you etc. .
They will be likely to make ignorant statements about “everybody being a bit autistic” or they will deny it… never mind, don’t argue. Don’t take these things personally. Your diagnosis will mean the world to you, but as in all things, most people will not be able to understand and since it doesn’t affect them personally, most will simply not be very interested. That’s OK. It does not mean they do not care about you, they simply don’t see the significance of your discovery. But they will see the results as you work though your new understanding of your self!


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Learning about our autism is a shock in the way that a sudden loss is… but this is loss of self identity.

Most people newly diagnosed with autism report going through the stages of grief. Shock, denial, bargaining,sadness, anger, acceptance. All appear and disappear, in any order, in rapid transition or slowly over days and sometimes years.
Do not be surprised at your emotional responses to finally learning you are “on the spectrum”.

My major reaction on figuring out I have autism/am autistic was relief. I knew there was something different about me, but had not a clue as to the nature of my struggles or why I seemed to have so many difficulties with things that others seemed to find easy.
I have been grieving in an ongoing way for years, but now I have an answer for that too. I have been sad for the loss of opportunities and things that ‘might have been’. I have regretted so many incidents of the past where I made bad decisions, misunderstood motives, misjudged so many people or situations. I have been angry over many of those things too. Nobody knew!
Feeling cheated of an ordinary life (whatever that is!) and wishing I had known or simply not been given autism as my share in life, feeling extraordinary relief and curiosity on learning how I was different and why… all going round and round inside me.
I bet you will feel similar things and a whole range of emotional turmoil. It is like being engulfed and having to learn to swim. Not a piddly little word, but one with great meaning and consequences “autism”.


Newly diagnosed with autism means loads of emotional homework, lots of looking for new ways to interact with one’s world, and new understanding of so many painful things from the past.
Please give yourself time to process all the new information, the new ways of looking at life and others, the new things you learn about yourself.
It took a lifetime to learn all the ideas that now are being shaken and tested from new perspectives.

Many new ideas will take the place of some old “stinkin’ thinkin’ “. , Many old ideas will be discarded, pains will be dug up and revisited from new perspectives.
I like to say I am a work in progress. My growth in understanding of my world, my self, and everything that applies to these things has been phenomenal. It has been the most exciting thing, freeing, uplifting, a sort of fresh start in a new and better world, to learn of my autism and to learn how to live better through my better understanding of how autism has touched every part of my world for the previous 65 years before I knew, before I began to understand so many answers I found when I found out about autism.


It is my deep hope that the medical community and those learning about autism to apply to professional practices today will be able to help not only children and families dealing with autism, but will be able to diagnose and explain their autism to old people just like me, but who remain still undiscovered and struggling with their Autism without knowing.

Autism Diagnosis at age 68

I will be 68 tomorrow…..what a great gift!
I told my husband when we were leaving the office that after our wedding day and the birth of our children, this was perhaps the most significant day of my life.

I am still processing the fact that I now have an official diagnosis . I have autism and there is no doubt at all.

Spouse and I presented ourselves at the kind Doctor’s office two days ago.
There had been many last minute doubts about whether the appointment for diagnosis would actually happen.
Dr’s fragile health was a huge concern.
We did not communicate well, and missed making contact to confirm the appointment. A last minute phone call found somebody at the appointment desk although the office was already closed.(phew!)
They called the Dr and he called us back to confirm that if he was able health wise, he would come on Monday.
We went downstate to the Detroit area on Sunday afternoon and checked into our motel. Reported to his office at 9 AM , and after a wait (tension building for me! My husband was so supportive!) of about an hour, we got the evaluation under way.

THE PROCESS
Since the kind Dr is a psychologist and not a neurologist, the process of sorting out my autism was quite different.
At no time was a clerk or helper involved, it was almost all discussion and questions/answers.
A few short tests were given to me personally, by the doctor.
I was asked to sort blocks to make patterns and given some oral questions to answer.
I was with the Dr for a total of 6 hours, and my husband was present for almost half that time.
We both answered questions and Dr taught us through explaining as we went, after I answered a series of questions, he explained what he had been looking for in my responses. Each time he explained how my responses helped show I have autism.

To my surprise, he told us he had been very sure of my autism after our initial exploratory appointment in late March.

THINGS I LEARNED:

Dr’s first impressions of me regarding autistic behavior came through the way I spoke, voice inflection, use of words, etc.
He has 40 years of experience, with autism being the majority of his practice. He says he has grown to recognize the distinctions in the way autistic people speak/ use words. Dr says only about 30 percent of people with autism speak.
That is very sobering. I feel so lucky. Words are my only strength.
Feeling so sad for my autistic brothers and sisters who don’t have that gift.

The evaluation appointment was to define my strengths and weaknesses.

Dr told us that a hallmark of autism is uneven neurological development as we grow. If our neurological development lags in certain areas, it is a sign we may have autism.
I never crawled, I have always been clumsy and awkward physically.
I was reading at a much higher level than usual at age 4.
Those are all examples of uneven development, where things that should have developed (neurologically) first failed to, and where other things developed too soon.
Testing confirmed the same pattern.
I have a couple of very strong areas, and several weak ones.
Typical (neurotypical or average) results would have shown a smooth line of development in most areas.
If my test results were put to a graph it would have peaks and valleys with few smooth lines.

Dr remarked that I have a great vocabulary. That was the highest point on my graph.
My weakest were visual processing and processing of the spoken word. I have good short and long term memories. The previous neurological tests I took with such traumatic “diagnoses” actually reflected the same peaks and valleys, strengths and weaknesses.

BUT the kind Dr pointed out, the interpretation the neurologist had put on the results was wrong. Dr pointed out one by one where the neurologist’s test results pointed to autism, how the results had been misinterpreted probably due to the neurologist’s complete lack of experience in work with autism, and lack of knowledge of information that has been known regarding autism in the past 15 to 20 years. (The neurologist simply had never learned more about autism since his college days of the early 1970’s).

One by one, the points made on that neurologist’s report and the negative diagnoses I was given, have been refuted.
How validating and how uplifting, after the devastation to my thoughts, ideas, concepts, and self identity at the time of that first attempt at diagnosis.

Dr pointed out my deficits and my struggles clearly, and showed how the neurologist had missed those struggles/deficits as well.

I asked so many questions and got such clear explanations!

Dr explained that he sees similar speech patterns and use of words among his verbal clients with autism.
He looks for patterns of uneven neurological development.

Most surprising of all to me was his statement that he watches for hints that clients are gathering details, that the smallest details are noted by us and that we are very interested in collecting information regarding those. He showed me a portfolio of art by his many clients over the years. So many of these drawings were made up of small and very specific details! He says that by observation he can see that those of us who are autistic are gathering information regarding details all the time. Dr says it is obvious in interacting with us. I plan to begin to watch the others I interact with to look for this behavioral clue!

He asked me to draw human figures, and commented about my openness and vulnerability. I got the idea that this was also often a characteristic of autism.

Doctor discussed in detail how autism is tied to anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior patterns. I will probably write about these things in more detail at a later time.

I can not express my gratitude enough toward this amazing, kind and extraordinary man!
He gave so much of himself to us in taking time and so much effort in spite of his very serious illness ( and after his official retirement ), to help us by giving analysis and diagnosis, spending so much time helping us to understand how and why he knows I have autism.

A note on one little twist of life, the person who recommended Dr to me was the first adult he diagnosed with autism. I will be the last.

Dr had advice, too, for how I might proceed with my desire to help others in the elderly populations to learn about autism in themselves or somebody they care about.

I will be taking some time off to sift through the overwhelming emotions and whirling thoughts , trying to develop a plan and preparing to go forward with the next step.

Feeling so grateful for this generous and compassionate man who reached out to us and provided the final information and explanations I had sought for so long.

Self Care

Might be more to it than you think!



One topic that comes up frequently on the autistic groups I attend is self care.
This is usually mentioned when people are feeling stressed or have had a meltdown.
Self care is usually mentioned as something one does at the moment of distress or trouble. Things like retreating to a darkened quiet room, putting on headphones, taking a long hot bath (with bubbles!), or self comforting in other small ways.

I want to change the concept of “self care” as immediate first aid applied in generous doses to urgent situations. I believe self care, if applied correctly, goes much deeper.

“Self care” can be described as everything one does to assure one’s own health and welfare. It is not just a band-aid, quick fix box of self comforting behaviors for bad days. True self care is in seeing oneself as an entire person and taking care of ourselves, all the time, not just in emergency situations.
Many of us struggle through daily living to the extent that we might never have given thought to the future. We are busy working from stressful event to stressful event and have not stopped to think that we can make choices to change things for the better. We do not have to take on that new project. We do not have to do that dreaded social event. We do not have to jump through hoops to please others, say yes when we would rather say no. We do not have to dress in certain ways. We do not have to go to places we dread. We have alternatives! We can build lives for ourselves and take our autistic struggles and strengths into account as we build lives with less stress, better health, more convenience, fewer challenges to our sensory sensitivities, and a better future for ourselves and those we care about.
Self care is about making your own autistic accommodations. It is about planning for a healthy future. It is about doing things differently to bring about better results.

Examples of self care include thinking through your personal needs and making sure you provide opportunities to assure those needs are met.

Examples of self care: Make a schedule and stick to it, make sure you have a safe home with hand rails, plenty of space to move, less clutter, ease of access to do cleaning and laundry, and other household work. Plan for better health care, diet and exercise. Plan ahead for old age and struggles with things that might be easy now. Why wait? You can take control of so many every day issues and challenges and figure out ways to make life better for yourself.



Self care is having a list of emergency contacts, a will and a power of attorney, A person who will take on the responsibility of your care decisions if you are not able to at some point ( power of attorney for health care).

Self care is refusing to live in a filthy home, have a dirty body, or stinky clothing. There are so many ways these issues can be handled. There are so many alternatives available besides tolerating these issues because of sensory struggles or administrative dysfunctions.

Self care is refusing to take on yet another set of responsibilities because you are already stressed to the max. It is saying NO when asked to do yet another thing because you have always said yes in the past. It is taking time to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and building ways to make sure you do not harm yourself or others through making poor choices or ignoring your needs for rest, safety, or health care.

Self care is making sure you get exercise, have a healthy diet, and regular medical and dental care. Self care is thinking ahead and building a plan to make sure these things are done.
Self care is learning about yourself and what you need to stay healthy, and setting aside time for yourself instead of rushing to please others and serve their demands. It is knowing oneself and knowing what you might need help with, and what you are best at. I did not even begin to think about these things until I learned of my autism. I was busy rushing around trying to please and help others regardless of how extreme the demands on my own emotions or health. I was busy trying to appease others and to keep others from getting angry with me by any slight disagreement over even the smallest things. I had no idea how my own behavior was making my problems so much worse! I never thought about it at all, believing that all the stress and pain were simply part of life and not knowing I had deep struggles that others did not. Is this true for you today?

Self care is not selfish. It is healthy to make sure we have our basic needs taken care of, and that we build a life for ourselves which takes into account our need for perhaps unusual accommodations for our unique struggles and strengths. Most of us have heard the explanation of the “spoon theory”. It is true that if we use everything inside of us and do not replenish and provide for ways to be rested, refreshed, and renewed, that it will take us much longer to recover or to be successful at things we want to try.

Self care is an entire system of living, which you must think through and design for yourself, ( often with the help and cooperation of others) that makes sure you get what you need to survive and even thrive. One of my several often- used sayings is “self care always first”. Self care is important to your health and sanity, and to your having a better life both now and in the future. Do you have a plan for long term self care? It is not just self comfort after a crisis, it is a way of life! If the thought of making a self care plan is overwhelming, there are many ways to get help from others. Think about it and reach out if you don’t want to do it alone.

Diagnosis adult autism

elderly autistic version of DSM V for autism diagnosis

This will be longer than usual! I have spent almost 2 years studying and researching scientific papers, books, blogs, and participating in multiple autism (+ Aspergers) forums. I have spent hours almost daily, and have communicated online with hundreds of other autistic people and Neurotypical people as well about autism. I have tried to consolidate what I have learned here in this blog in hope that it will help other older adults with autism, or those who suspect they may have autism.
My intent is to provide “one stop shopping” for information useful to older autistic people (and those who interact with them!).

I now have an appointment to see about finally getting an “official” medical diagnosis.

With that diagnosis I progress to a new phase in my intentions.
I want to present the idea of finding hidden autism in ageing adults to those who work with the senior population. For example: Senior centers, nursing homes, staff in medical facilities, rescue and police/fire workers, hospitals, offices which provide aid to the elderly, etc etc.

I have been working on accumulating information about diagnosing the elderly autistic and learning how we differ from youngsters ( who are the population doctors graduating from school today are trained to identify).

Lifetimes of adapting oneself and masking have hidden many of the traits or behaviors professionals are trained to look at as clues to autism. Eye contact, hand flapping and toe walking which is sought in children may have been replaced by other self comforting behaviors deemed more socially acceptable. We may drink or self medicate with drugs or smoking, we may hide self harm or our other comfort rituals behind closed doors, having learned to avoid being scolded, mocked, punished, corrected, because of them. Current popularity of ABA shows most of society believes that autistic people can be trained to substitute one behavior for another. It is reasonable to believe that after a lifetime of experience we would not show the same autistic characteristics in the same way we did at 3, 10, 20 or even 40 or 50. We will be harder to spot because we have had a lifetime of experience learning “what not to do”.



I used DSM V as a guide and gathered as much information as possible about the descriptions included and how they might show themselves in older folks.

Next, I used DSM V as an outline and began to fill descriptions of these behaviors and traits as ways they could be applied to older adults. I am sure there must be thousands of other adaptive behaviors and signs of our struggles. We are only beginning to learn about how to find and to diagnose the elderly with autism.

When I had my outline filled in, I went to two large on line internet forums (over 1 thousand members in each) and asked for help refining the descriptions. I asked if the members saw themselves in the descriptions, if they could add to the descriptions, and asked for all input or constructive criticisms. I got great feedback!
The process was by no means scientific and my use of forums was because I am best at written words. Other results may be found by personal interviews, by using formal test form types of booklets , standard neurological testing, etc.

I suspect that the people who responded so avidly and so kindly are also like me… many of the most active participants on these forums were the ones who responded with often lengthy descriptions and detailed observations of what I had missed and what they thought I had got right.
In total, I got hundreds of responses from 88 autistic people, most of whom were women. There were 5 men who commented. Ages ranged from lower 30’s to mid 70’s with most respondents in the middle 40’s to 50’s in age. Many people said that they thought most of the criteria I described applied to them. Some of course took exception to parts of the descriptions. We are all so varied in our autistic presentation and our strengths and weaknesses. I expect the description here will be a bit skewed because it relied on input from mostly older women and mostly those of us who tend to be “wordy” in print.
I suspect many reading it will want to add information and express opinions and I urge you to email me so we can discuss details thoroughly. When I use these guidelines to discuss autism in the elderly un-diagnosed population, I want to get it right!

Old Lady’s Diagnostic guide for Elderly Autistic Adults.

Section A: Social struggles:
1 May be estranged from family members
2 Reports having been bullied throughout life in many varied situations
3 Has held many jobs, for which they may have been grossly overqualified in education and skills or may not have a work history at all

4 Reports having had multiple partners and or failed marriages, or may not have had any at all.

5 reports having been abused ( this seems to be highly common for us as children and as domestic partners) or may have a record of having been abusive (sometimes both)

6 reports a sense of “otherness”, knowing one is different but not understanding how or why this is so.

Section B: Communication deficits:
1 lack of social boundaries. Talks over or interrupts others, stands too close, talks on and on. May make inappropriate comments or ask inappropriate questions.

2 Difficulty using body language or reading and understanding it in others.

3 Has difficulty making conversation, or keeping a conversation going . May not see the use of social conversation, and may not be interested in doing so.
4 May “freeze up” intermittently, depending on company, circumstances, or emotions or may not speak at all. May have speech impediments or echolalia.
5 reports that they make people angry but do not understand why.
6. Reports that they do not understand others’ motivations, intentions, or what they are thinking.
7 may have difficulty understanding one’s own emotions and have trouble expressing them. ( very common)


Section C : Rigid thinking and repetitive behavior patterns

1 Has fixed routines in daily living arrangements. Examples would be set times for meals and activities, set days or certain rituals surrounding certain activities. ( rules for cleaning house, doing laundry, care of car or lawn, etc)

2 Resists changes, especially if sudden. Is alarmed or upset by surprises.

3 Inflexible ideas or thoughts or beliefs.

4 Has especially intense interests and will follow these avidly an in unusually deep detail. May show no interest in things others try to discuss or do.


Section D : Sensory Struggles:

  1. May experience any of the senses intensely in predictable ways, or may be hyper sensitive to sensory stimulation intermittently, or be hypo sensitive in similar ways (continually or intermittently).
    2 May experience sensory meltdowns and become unable to deal with the intense distress that sensory overload causes.
    3 May report unusual sensory experiences.. tasting colors, seeing music, having vivid abilities to visualize images.
    4 Aversion to touch or other distressing stimuli (loud noises, flashing lights, uncomfortable clothing or strong tastes of foods for example) and behavior to avoid experiencing this. Ask how they react to hugs or handshakes, if they like the noise and activity of crowded malls, what foods or music they dislike, etc.
    5 May have odd clothing due to issues with comfort, also may have problems with bodily cleanliness due to sensory issues.
    Note: struggles with sensory difficulties can cause trouble in social situations, making it very difficult for persons to interact in ways that are considered usual, socially acceptable, or “normal”. This will reflect back or tie into to the social struggles and communication problems already discussed.

    Notes and comments:
    Not every person will have every trait described here. Many will have only a few. Although Autism is based in neurological differences, it mostly shows itself through behavioral problems. Social struggles and communication difficulties are the major hallmarks of autism in the diagnostic process. Without these struggles, the individual is most likely not autistic and one must look elsewhere for the cause of their traits. I want to mention that many autistic people struggle with other neurological problems.. executive dysfunction, dyspraxia, dyslexia, digestive trouble, epilepsy, an extensive list – but these are not necessarily diagnostic of autism. One could have any or all of these things and still not be diagnosed as autistic.

    So that’s it. I have no doubt left out things I could have added, or added things I could have left out. I will continue to refine and enhance, attempt to be even more brief and precise in my descriptions as I go. This is the first version of a work in progress. Now it is time for me to do some self care and take a break. Thanks for taking the time to read and understand!