Did you know that there are millions of people in the United States who have autism? The CDC estimates that 5,437,988 people in the country have autism.
That means that it’s more common than you thought for you or someone you love to have autism. If you’re unsure if you fall into this category, there are some questions you can ask yourself to find out. Remember, many neurotypical people exhibit some degree of each of these characteristics. What makes these characteristics different in people with autism is that it impacts their ability to participate in everyday life. It’s important to check with your doctor before self-diagnosing.
1. Do You Get Confused Whether Someone Is Joking or Not?
One sign that a person may have autism is if it is difficult for them to read facial expressions. This can make it difficult for them to understand when someone is being sarcastic or when they are telling a joke. People who struggle with autism tend to need others to explain jokes to them.
Another sign that a person may have autism is that what you think is funny most people wouldn’t consider funny. If you find yourself fitting into this category, there’s a chance that you could have autism.
2. Did You Learn to Speak or Walk Late?
Did you know that the way that babies develop could be an indication of autism?
Autistic children tend to develop later than their peers. They might learn to walk or talk later than what is considered normal for their age.
Experts previously believed that some autistic children wouldn’t learn to be able to talk or walk at all. We now know that is not the case. While autistic children may have delays, they can still learn to walk and talk with ease with the help of Early Intervention, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy.
3. Is It Hard for You to Handle Bright Lights or Loud Noise?
People with autism may be sensitive to sounds, lights, smells, sights and textures. This is often referred to as sensory overload. It’s important to know that most people have some sensory sensitivities. People with autism have difficulty performing even simple, everyday tasks in the presence of sensory overload. Sensory overload can take many different forms, such as:
- Smells: Inability to use or be around specific cleaning supplies, perfumes/colognes and foods.
- Sounds: Inability to focus when clocks are ticking, there is loud traffic and fear of the loud sounds from fireworks or lawnmowers.
- Sights: Avoidance of bright lights, pictures and signs.
- Textures: Difficulty with touching gels, slippery foods and mud.
The good news is that autism treatments like ABA Therapy can help you cope with sensory overload. In ABA therapy, you can learn skills that will help you adapt to the presence of sensory environments and incorporate replacement strategies so that you can go about your daily life.
4. Did You Struggle with Temper Tantrums as a Child?
Many autistic children, teens, and adults struggle to communicate in a socially acceptable manner. They might have difficulty getting their opinions and ideas across.
It is common for people with ASD to struggle with temper tantrums. They may feel that a tantrum is their only way to explain their feelings to those around them. Temper tantrums are developmentally appropriate for toddlers as they learn how to communicate. What separates this from those with autism is that a temper tantrum is the primary way they communicate their wants and needs.
If you use temper tantrums to communicate or have temper tantrums and aren’t sure why, you may have autism. ABA therapy can help you learn how to communicate better and make it easier for you to interact with others.
5. Do You Often Notice Small Details That Others Miss?
Many people with autism pick up on little things that other people don’t notice. People with autism may focus on details that aren’t necessarily important or have no impact on the situation. If these details are not fixed, people with autism may struggle to move on to another topic.
6. Do You Find Small Talk Difficult and Exhausting?
Small talk is an important way that we interact and connect with those around us. People with autism find small talk confusing and unnecessary.
For example, to an autistic person, work is where you go to complete your tasks. Therefore, it becomes confusing when colleagues attempt to make small talk. An autistic person may find this distracting and against the rules of the workplace.
7. Do You Find Social Situations Confusing?
Many autistic teens, children, and adults need help learning how to communicate in social situations, especially nuances like nodding and handshakes. Some of those social norms can make autistic people uncomfortable or anxious. The uncertainty of what to expect and how to react can result in autistic people avoiding any social contact.
If this sounds like you, then you may have autism. Understanding that social situations are difficult for you is the first step. ABA Therapy gives you the tools to help you navigate these situations.
8. Do You Have an Overwhelming Passion for One Specific Subject?
While not every person with autism has a unique skill or passion, it can be an indicator that someone is autistic. Many people with autism focus on one subject area or hobby that they are really passionate about. Regardless of what it is, a person with autism may only want to discuss topics that relate to their hobby or interest.
This may also cause social difficulties for autistic people. They may not find other conversations interesting, which can make it more difficult for them to interact with others and take part in social events.
If you answered ‘yes’ to this question, there’s a chance you have autism. Speaking with a professional can help you with a diagnosis.
9. Do Changes in Your Routine Upset You?
It’s OK not to like change. After all, humans are creatures of habit. However, for autistic people, change can be a much more intense experience. Any change in routine can cause extreme distress and anxiety. It can make them feel overwhelmed, panicked, and unable to adjust to the change.
If you find that changes in your routine cause you extreme distress, it could be an indicator of autism. Remember, it’s normal not to like change, but extreme reactions could mean something more is going on.
10. Do You Have Habits That People Say Are Inappropriate for Your Age?
Autistic people need help learning how to behave and react appropriately in social situations. Because of this, others can say that you aren’t acting appropriately for your age.
For example, autistic people may play with dolls at age 16 or watch tv shows that younger children would watch. These wouldn’t be considered age-appropriate activities, but an autistic person might not see it that way.
If you find that you have habits that people have told you aren’t age-appropriate, you could have autism. Speaking with your primary care physician or an autism specialist can help you figure this out.
Determine Whether You Have Autism or Not
Remember, many neurotypical people exhibit some degree of each of these characteristics. What makes these characteristics different in people with autism is that they impact their ability to participate in everyday life. If you think that you have autism, you’ll want to speak to a medical professional. Even if you’ve never been diagnosed, there are therapy techniques that can be helpful.
If you have an autism diagnosis, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can help. The team at ABA Centers of America is always available to answer your questions about ABA therapy. Call now to learn more about how we treat adults, teens and children with autism.