Adult Signs of Autism

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Autism awareness is everywhere these days. From puzzle pieces to colored ribbons to walkathons, the condition is being studied and supported. For many adults with the condition, however, this support and awareness was not around at all when they were growing up. Because of this, many people who were closer to average on the autism scale may have missed being diagnosed, and are only now discovering that they fall on the spectrum. Provided that an adult is far enough on the autism scale to communicate, learn and make a living for him or herself, the highly autistic symptoms like lack of speech and inability to be touched are likely ruled out. However, there are many more subtle signs that can be found instead. Here is a look at some of the signs of autism that they may have, though having one or more of them is not a definite confirmation of autism. If this sounds like someone you know, then it's best to go to an expert on autism to get a medical opinion on the diagnosis:

Lack of Eye Contact/Difficulty Reading Emotions
Eye contact is one of the biggest indicators in discovering someone who is autistic. Rather than someone who is shy, who may look down and peek up subtly, autistic people have no ability to glean emotion from facial features. Because of this, they are unlikely to be able to read the clues that others with subtle emotional displays may show, and will often use exaggerated displays of emotion like tantrums to show their own feelings.

Difficulty with Touch
While physical touch is a very important thing for most children and adults, autistic people not only dislike touch, it can often cause severe anxiety in them when it is uninvited. Autistic adults are not touchy-feely, and will shrink from people who are. This does not mean that they refuse all touch, however, and many of them end up having enough of a physical relationship to parent children. Often, it just requires planning and advanced notice of touch advances. Creating a routine with well-documented expectations and end results can do a lot to help with this.

Fixation on Concrete (and often minor) Details
Many autistic folk are highly intelligent. They have the ability to focus without distraction on whatever knowledge that they find fascinating. This often creates an encyclopedic knowledge of their areas of interest, and high academic achievement. There is a very high percentage of high-functioning autistic people with Ph.D degrees. The genius can be limited to very specific areas. For example, Albert Einstein was believed to be mildly autistic, and while he changed the face of math and nuclear weaponry at the young age of 19 with his theories, he never learned how to tie his own shoes.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Adult Signs of Autism," in, January 10, 2016, (accessed August 13, 2022).