What are the main symptoms of autism in adults?
Autism in Adults
Autism is a developmental and neurological condition that affects an individual’s behavior, socialization, and communication skills. Usually, it is identified by the time a child turns three years old.
However, autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that individuals with it may present with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Individuals with mild symptoms may make it into adulthood without receiving a comprehensive diagnosis because they could mask their symptoms growing up. In other instances, a lack of support or awareness around their symptoms might have meant they never received a diagnosis.
Awareness about autism increases, a larger number of adults identify autistic symptoms in themselves and push for a diagnosis. Women, especially, are more likely to receive a later diagnosis of autism than men. This is partly due to high functioning women with autism hiding their symptoms and force themselves to fit in socially. There is also growing research to suggest that autism may present differently in males and females, meaning women are much less likely to have received an early diagnosis.
Helping adults receive a correct diagnosis is important. Many would have struggled with autistic symptoms all their lives, and a diagnosis can really help many adults come to terms with their own behavior and reaction to situations. It also enables them to connect with others in the same situation and receive support with their symptoms and diagnosis.
The symptoms of autism in adults
Here are some of the most commonly identified symptoms of autism in adults.
- Anxiety either thinking about or during social situations
- A difficulty understanding what others may be thinking or feeling
- A preference to be alone, making friends may be difficult or something that is avoided
- Struggling to express and communicate how you feel
- Unintentionally coming across as rude or uninterested in others
- Taking everything very literally, unable to understand sarcasm
- Following a very set, rigid routine and being unable to cope if it changes
- Some element of struggling with social norms, especially where they related to the conversation
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Being unaware of others personal space or not being able to cope if someone intrudes on your space and gets too close physically
- Attention to sensory stimuli, including smells and sounds that others may not notice
- Being very focused and interested in a specific topic or activity
If you can identify more than one or two of the above symptoms in yourself, you might want to talk to a medical professional about exploring the options to be evaluated for autism. There are currently no standard diagnostic tests for adults with suspected autism, but diagnostic assessment guides for those working with adults with autism.
Receiving a correct diagnosis is important at any age.