Atypical Autism Traits

As a follow-up from yesterday’s post on Atypical Autism, I’m reposting the Atypical Autism Traits in their entirety from the post I found on Tumblr to make it easier for me to reference them in future.

The traits are split into four categories.

Appearance / Personal Habits

  • Dresses comfortably due to sensory issues and practicality
  • Will not spend much time on grooming and hair. Hairstyles usually have to be ‘wash and wear’. Can be quite happy not grooming at all at times.
  • Eccentric personality; may be reflected in appearance
  • Is youthful for their age, in looks, dress, behaviour, and tastes
  • Usually a little more expressive in face and gesture than some other Autistic people
  • May have androgynous traits. Thinks of themself as half-male/half female
  • May not have a strong sense of identity, and can be very chameleon-like, especially before diagnosis
  • Enjoys reading and films as a retreat, often scifi, fantasy, children’s, can have favourites which are a refuge
  • Uses control as a stress management technique; rules, discipline, rigid in certain habits, which will contradict their seeming unconventionality.
  • Usually happiest at home or in other controlled environment.

Intellectual / Giftedness / Education / Vocation

  • May have been diagnosed as Autistic when young, or may have been thought of as gifted, shy, sensitive, etc. May also have had obvious or severe learning deficits
  • Often musical, artistic
  • May have a savant skill or strong talent(s)
  • May have a strong interest in computers, games, science, graphic design, inventing, things of a technological and visual nature. More verbal thinkers may gravitate to writing, languages, cultural studies, psychology
  • May have been a self-taught reader, been hyperlexic as a child, and will possess a wide variety of other self-taught skills as well
  • May be highly educated but will have had to struggle with social aspects of college. May have one or many partial degrees
  • Can be very passionate about a course of study or job, and then change direction or go completely cold on it very quickly
  • Will often have trouble holding onto a job and may find employment daunting
  • Highly intelligent, yet sometimes can be slow to comprehend due to sensory and cognitive processing issues
  • Will not do well with verbal instruction – needs to write down or draw diagram
  • Obsessions (passions / special interests) are not necessarily unusual

Emotional / Physical

  • Emotionally immature and emotionally sensitive
  • Anxiety and fear are predominant emotions
  • More open to talk about feelings and emotional issues than people with typical autism
  • Strong sensory issues – sounds, sights, smells, touch, and prone to overload. (May not have taste/food texture issues.)
  • Moody and prone to bouts of depression. May have been diagnosed with mood disorders such as Bipolar Disorder, while the autism diagnosis was missed
  • Probably given several different prescriptions to treat symptoms. Will be very sensitive to medications and anything else they put in their body so may have had adverse reactions
  • 9 out of 10 have mild to severe gastro-intestinal issues (e.g. ulcers, acid reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and so on)
  • Stims to soothe when sad or agitated; rocking, face-rubbing, humming, finger flicking, leg bouncing, finger or foot tapping, etc
  • Similarly physical when happy – hand-flapping, clapping, singing, jumping, running around, dancing, bouncing
  • Prone to temper or crying meltdowns, even in public; sometimes over seemingly small things due to sensory or emotional overload
  • Hates injustice and hates to be misunderstood; this can incite anger and rage
  • Prone to mutism when stressed or upset, especially after a meltdown. Less likely to stutter than some other Autistic people but may have a raspy voice, monotone at times, when stressed or sad

Social / Relationships

  • Words and actions are often misunderstood by others
  • Perceived to be cold-natured and self-centred; unfriendly
  • Is very outspoken at times, may get very fired up when talking about passions / special interests / obsessions
  • Can be very shy or mute
  • Like people with typical autism, will shut down in social situations once overloaded, but is generally better at socialising in small doses. May even give the appearance of being skilled, but it is a “performance”
  • Doesn’t go out much. Will prefer to go out with partner only or children if they have them
  • Will not have many close friends, and will not conform to gender stereotypical activities with friends, or have get-togethers to “hang out” with friends
  • Will have a close friend or friends in school, but not once adulthood is reached
  • May or may not want to have a relationship. If they are interested in a relationship, they probably take it very seriously, but may choose to remain celibate or alone
  • Due to sensory issues, will either really enjoy sex or strongly dislike it
  • If they like someone romantically, they can be extremely, noticeably awkward in attempts to let them know e.g. may stare or call repeatedly, “fixating” on the person. This may change with maturity
  • Often prefers the company of animals but not always due to sensory issues.

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