What is an Autistic Person Like? A Comprehensive Guide

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. It's important to note that some people without ASD may also have some of these symptoms.

Autistic people may act differently than other people and have a hard time understanding how other people think or feel. They may find things like bright lights or loud, overwhelming, stressful, or uncomfortable noises to be particularly difficult to cope with. Feeling anxious or upset about unknown situations and social events is also common among those with autism. Many people with autism have sensory problems that usually involve excessive or insufficient sensitivity to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain, and other stimuli.

Autistic people may find some aspects of communication and social interaction challenging. They may have difficulty relating to people and understanding their emotions. Autistic adults may also have inflexible patterns of thinking and behavior, and may perform repetitive actions. ASD affects different people in different ways.

Some people can't talk or learn. Their behavior may seem strange; they may avoid other people; they may walk and move their bodies in unusual ways, such as flapping their hands. They can repeat lines from TV shows or movies. But for people with ASD, these characteristics can make life very difficult. People who are highly functioning on the autism spectrum often have difficulty with social interaction and communication.

Naturally, they don't read social cues and may have difficulty making friends. They don't make much eye contact or talk trivia. Though often overlooked, sensitivity to emotions is a common problem for people on the upper end of the autism spectrum. These people can function in everyday life, but they struggle to control their emotions in the same way that neurotypical or non-autistic people can. For example, a frustrating morning experience, such as running out of milk while driving, can cause irritability and difficulty concentrating for the rest of the day.

People with autism may also have unusually intense emotional reactions compared to the rest of the population. People who want a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to research to find a provider who is experienced in diagnosing autistic adults. A growing body of evidence shows that access to autistic partners can positively benefit the life of an autistic person. A study on services and outcomes in autistic adults showed that 27% of autistic participants were unemployed. Employers can take steps to support neurodiversity in the workplace, for example, by making appropriate accommodations for autistic employees. Interacting with other autistic adults can give an autistic person new ideas about the things they can do in their own life.

As with neurotypical people, autistic people may benefit from seeing a therapist if they experience anxiety, work stress, or feelings of isolation. Autistic people may have higher rates of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or depression, than people in the general population. In the family or home environment, a person with high-functioning autism may only think of themselves when doing activities. For some autistic people, getting a diagnosis of ASD in adulthood can provide relief, validation, and access to some support services for those who require them. Adults who suspect they may be autistic and want to be diagnosed should talk to their doctor, who can provide advice and guidance on next steps. There may be some similarities between ASD and other disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the signs and symptoms of ASD vary from person to person. Taking steps to improve mental health inequity can also help neglected autistic adults get the counseling they may need.

Familiarity with these ten symptoms of high-functioning autism helps providers, parents, teachers, and others coordinate early treatment for someone with this condition. Some autistic people may find it helpful to connect with other autistic people who may be experiencing similar things. Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect a person's feelings, behavior, and social interaction. For example, autistic women may be calmer, hide their feelings and seem to cope better with social situations.

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