find clues here: YOU MIGHT BE AUTISTIC IF :
Interacting with others is usually difficult, uncomfortable, upsetting, or not satisfactory in other ways. ( diagnostic criteria 1 -social struggles)
Signs include being estranged from family, lack of friends, multiple marriages or relationships that end in distress, constant fighting or misunderstandings with others including: trouble with people in school, church, relatives, workplaces, encounters on the street or in public places, difficulty with situations such as doctors offices, emergency treatment/hospital/clinical settings, difficulty in encounters with those who work with the public (police, teachers, store clerks, restaurant servers,or workers who come to your home ( such as plumbers, lawn care, house cleaners, etc etc etc).
You may have been bullied, abused,/ and-or neglected as a child, you may still be bullied or in an abusive relationship.
You may prefer to keep away from others because your “people” experiences have not been so good. Sound familiar? Keep reading.
YOU MIGHT BE AUTISTIC IF: You struggle with communication.( diagnostic criteria 2)
You might find it difficult to express yourself either spoken words or in writing, using ASL, texting, or on the phone.
You might have troubles with speech , including stuttering or stammering, freezing up when you think about speaking or are suddenly called on to speak.
You may not recognize your own emotions until they overwhelm you and you end up “falling apart,”
“blowing up” “freezing up” or “breaking down”, or “having rages” .
You might be dyslexic, hyperlexic, or be unusually talkative or withdrawn. You might prefer to read and write to communicate.
You might have difficulty using your facial features and body language, or others have told you that you have strange body language or gestures and expressions.
You may find it difficult to understand the facial expressions and body language of others.
You might have frequent misunderstandings and have trouble following directions.
You might have been accused of being over friendly or being cold, or of behaving inappropriately.
You may not recognize “personal space” of others.
Social chit chat is frustrating, boring, annoying or causes anxiety.
Having long two- sided conversations with exchange of information or ideas, or sharing of emotions is mostly unknown or you may never have experienced this.
You tend to avoid interacting with others because of these difficulties.
YOU MIGHT BE AUTISTIC IF : you have rigid thinking and or repetitive behaviors ( diagnostic criteria 3)
You might have a regular routine around many parts of your life, and you hate to have those routines disrupted or suddenly change.
You hate surprises (good or bad)
You expect certain behavior from others and are surprised, disappointed, angry, or dismayed if they do not behave the way you expect.
You have strong beliefs about right and wrong, what is good and what is bad, and you rarely change those beliefs.
You may have intense interests in details surrounding a specific subject or subjects. It is not unusual for these interests to change over a period of time, but whatever those interests are, they will be very specific and demanding detail and will be absorbing and of almost driven/ obsessive proportions.
You have certain rituals or processes you must do in order to accomplish certain tasks. Being asked to change these suddenly makes you uncomfortable, upset, angry, or distressed and worried.
As an example, I brush my teeth after I eat anything. since I snack constantly, I brush my teeth a lot when I am home. When we travel, I am often unable to brush after meals or snacks and I find that distressing. Other examples would be the order in which you do any task, the tools you might use or need to work or to perform the task, time of day you must do things, etc. If your rituals or processes are changed or interrupted it is difficult to proceed without upset.
You may tend to isolate yourself or resist other activities or interactions if they interfere with the structure of your rituals and routines, or if you are not given time to prepare for them properly.
If you relate to these things, and more importantly relate to 2 or more behaviors from any of these 3 sections, you may be autistic.
The sections I just described are sometimes called the diagnostic TRIAD of autism… having behaviors from all 3 sections are points used to diagnose autism.
I add my own criteria here: ( and many diagnostic persons also take note)
YOU MIGHT BE AUTISTIC IF :
You have sensory struggles. This can include not only trouble with any or all of the “usual” 5 senses but also difficulties in interoception and proprioception. These have to do with regulating your emotions and knowing where your body is in relations to the rest of the world.
You may struggle with perception of light, taste, touch/feel, smells, sounds, knowing and expressing your emotions, and being coordinated/clumsy, having trouble while in motion or watching others in motion, listening and understanding, fears related to going too fast, fear of falling, fear of being touched, sudden noises, being overwhelmed by a smell, hating certain foods due to their taste or texture, trouble wearing clothing because of seams, texture of fabrics, sticky labels, etc. The range of sensory struggles is so big I can not include enough examples. But if you think about how you use your senses and what your most difficult struggles are, you may find that many relate to unusual sensory processing.
You might have a personal history of job loss, unemployment, being bullied, abused, “set up”, scammed, used or victimized. You may have a personal history that includes experience with substance abuse, involvement with law enforcement/ justice system, multiple diagnoses of genetic and or neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, depression, anxiety, or other mental and/ or physical illness, homelessness, poverty, and may have recieved therapy or treatment which was not successful or resulted in non typical ways of responding to treatments for named diagnoses.
These things are documented to be significantly higher in the autistic population.
One of the difficult things about diagnosis of autism is that it does not have just one way of showing itself, because it is due to differences in neurology, each person will be different, and each of us will have different life experiences, all of which help to hide our struggles and make them difficult to define. The things listed here are necessarily general descriptions and it is up to us to sort out which details of our own lives apply to the descriptions of the way we struggle. Although autism is physically uneven development of our neurology, diagnosis depends on general behavioral guidelines and autism’s effects on our lives are mostly behavioral.
I continue to address older adults who think they may be autistic and to encourage them to consider diagnosis, search out information, to ask for help.
You are not alone.
Knowing my diagnosis has made all the difference to me even at the end stages of my long and struggling life. Finally I can make sense of it all. What a relief!