Note: This is not medical advice. Just a resource to begin your journey for this health-related topic. Please consult a doctor.
Autism is a spectrum disorder and you can have symptoms that range from mild to severe. It affects people of all different ages, socioeconomic groups, and ethnic backgrounds. There are many different symptoms and you may have experienced some of them. You may even wonder if you have autism. Because it is a spectrum disorder, there is no medical test. Instead, people are diagnosed by having symptoms that interfere with everyday life.
You Need Order at All Times
One symptom of autism is a need for things to be arranged in a particular order. At work, you may have a need for everything on your desk to be in the same place every day. If you find that something has moved, it may be a huge source of stress. Your need to put it back in the right spot is the only thing that matters at that moment in time.
This need also applies to your schedule. You do things in a particular order every day and you do not respond well if anything interferes with it. Unexpected events such as a person stopping by unannounced are extremely unsettling for you.
The order may also apply to what you wear, what you eat, how your food is arranged on the plate, and more. The more severe your symptoms are, the more order you might require. Anything that interferes with these routines can completely send you into a state of panic. If you notice that any of these characteristics describe you, then you might be autistic.
You Have Trouble Reading Other People
Another symptom of autism is that you have a difficult time reading other people. If your supervisor at work speaks to you, you have trouble deciding whether he or she is happy with you or upset with you. In addition, you may be uncomfortable looking people in the eyes when they speak to you.
Rather than reading people’s body language, facial expressions, or social cues, you expect them to tell you what they are thinking. It is difficult to keep up a conversation with someone; you are much more comfortable sharing your knowledge about a topic that you are very familiar with. If these symptoms apply to you, you could be on the autistic spectrum.
You Prefer to Work Alone
People who are autistic often prefer to do things alone. They will choose sports such as golf that do not require a team effort. If you are at work, you might prefer to be assigned to a task that you can do by yourself. You may prefer working a puzzle, playing a game on your phone, or doing yard work on your own. All of these activities can be both comforting and soothing to you. By the same token, interruptions will take away the comfort that you seek.
In addition, when you are required to work with others, you might have trouble accepting input from them. You may want it done your way or not at all. If you find that you have a strong need to work or spend time alone, you might fall on the autistic spectrum.
These symptoms may make your life difficult or they may work well for you. People with autism often have extraordinary talents in math, art, music, and more. By the same token, it can be debilitating if you are not allowed to do things the way that you need to do them. The more severe your symptoms are, the easier it is to diagnose.
Being mildly autistic does not need to interfere with your daily life. However, if you have more severe symptoms, such as communication difficulties, temper issues, or severe repetitive behaviors, you may want to seek help. If you believe that you have symptoms of autism, the best way to find out is to go to a doctor who specializes in this disorder.