Characteristics of Autism in Adults

  • Preference for Alternate Forms of Communication
  • A Tendency Toward Following an Established Routine
  • Inability to Interact Socially
  • A Lack of Social Imagination
  • Intense Connection With Specific Objects

Adults with autism face a unique set of challenges in their daily lives. The various effects of the condition can alter their perception of the world and people around them in ways that others do not always understand. This can lead to confusion and frustration on both ends, but knowledge really is power. Understanding how autism impacts a person’s life can help everyone improve their interaction and communication. While traits can differ from one autistic adult to another, there are some general characteristics that tend to apply. Here are five features of adults with autism.

1. Preference for Alternate Forms of Communication

Autistic adults communicate in the way that best makes sense to them. They may not always understand the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication others tend to use. They tend to not comprehend things like euphemisms, facial expressions, and hand gestures. This can cause misunderstandings depending on the severity of the person’s condition. Others choose to use things like sign language to communicate because it is very simple and straightforward. Taking the time to explain things clearly and understand their preferred way of speaking can bridge the communication gap.

2. A Tendency Toward Following an Established Routine

Because adults with autism typically prefer structure, they tend to follow the same routines day in and day out. When their schedules are altered or disturbed in any way, it can lead to much greater discomfort than it would for someone who does not live with autism. When interacting with autistic adults, it is important to remember that structure equals comfort for them. Helping them keep their schedules intact will go a long way in earning their trust.

3. Inability to Interact Socially

People with autism typically have trouble understanding concepts that are not black and white. They do not live in gray areas. Because of this, feelings, emotions, and social interaction can be difficult for them to manage. It is not unusual for an adult with autism to do things that others may construe as rude, inconsiderate, or distant when there is actually no negative intention. These things can include not respecting others’ personal space, avoiding interaction with people, and not asking others for advice or comfort.

4. A Lack of Social Imagination

Autism can lead to a lack of social imagination that makes it difficult for those with the condition to understand the behavior and intentions of the people around them. They also find it hard to imagine anything that does not fall within the boundaries of their set schedules. Unfortunately, this symptom of autism is often perceived as a lack of creativity. It would be wrong to assume this since children and adults with autism are typically exceptionally creative.

5. Intense Connection With Specific Objects

Autistic adults tend to develop attachments with certain objects in their lives. These objects can range from toys or blankets from their childhoods to seemingly random things they found later in life. Whatever the attraction is, it can be rather strong and should be respected. This fascination with objects can lead to an interest in collecting items and categorizing them in a way that works for them. According to the United Kingdom’s National Autistic Society, these objects can also be a source of comfort for adults with autism who must find a way to cope with the uncertainties of daily life.

Related Resource: Top 20 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs 2015

Autism greatly affects the lives of adults with the condition and those closest to them. By understanding the symptoms the condition presents and the associated challenges, everyone can find better ways to interact with adults with autism.