keskiviikko 15. marraskuuta 2017

That's why

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Tässä minulle muistutus.

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ASD Traits Checklist

So, I’ve been researching ASD for nearly two and a half years for self-diagnosis purposes, and I’ve decided to make a checklist for ASD traits. I included as much as I could find from several different sources, including “atypical” and lesser-known traits.

These are traits, not symptoms, but they are associated with autism when enough of them are present. If you find that you display a lot of these traits, it’s likely that you are on the autism spectrum. I grouped them into categories for easier reading.

I hope this helps people who are suspecting they are on the autism spectrum or are in the journey of self-diagnosis.

School/Learning/Thinking/Executive Functioning:

○ Average to high intelligence, may have high grades

○ May have low grades due to executive dysfunction

○ Difficulty with executive functioning, i.e. remembering chores/assignments, beginning or finishing tasks, trouble multitasking or switching between two tasks, etc.

○ Has symptoms of AD(H)D such as forgetfulness, restlessness, impulsivity, and trouble focusing

○ Has symptoms of OCD such as anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and odd habits or routines that stem from anxiety (compulsions)

○ Has been (correctly or incorrectly) diagnosed with co-morbid disorders such as depression, anxiety, AD(H)D and OCD

A “teacher’s pet” and tells on students for breaking rules, may be a “tattler”

○ Seen as odd, shy, eccentric, and/or annoying by peers and classmates

○ Uses “formal” or “pedantic” language rather than casual/conversational language

○ Exceptional vocabulary since childhood

○ Skills tend to be far above or far below those of peers

○ Considered “gifted” or a “savant” in areas such as math, physics, science, vocabulary, reading comprehension, art, and/or music

○ Superior skills in mathematics or physics

○ Poor understanding of mathematics

○ Has or has symptoms of dyscalculia, a learning disorder characterized by:

    ○ Difficulty with mathematics (including basic concepts such as addition and subtraction)

    ○ Difficulty identifying patterns

    ○ Difficulty telling left from right

    ○ Poor navigational skills and sense of direction

    ○ Difficulty remembering long sequences of numbers such as phone numbers

    ○ Difficulty reading clocks and telling time

    ○ Difficulty with applying math concepts to real-life situations

    ○ Difficulty with measurements

    ○ Difficulty applying previously-learned skills to new concepts in math

    ○ Difficulty finding different approaches to the same problem

    ○ Difficulty reading charts and graphs

    ○ Poor spatial awareness, difficulty estimating distances and have poor depth perception

○ Has or has symptoms of dyslexia, a learning disorder characterized by:

    ○ Difficulty recognized letters

    ○ Difficulty matching letters and words to sounds (i.e. pronunciation errors, not knowing what sound a “B” or an “H” makes)

    ○ Limited vocabulary

    ○ Difficulty with word sequences such as counting or the days of the week

    ○ Confuses the order of letters, makes frequent mistakes in spelling and grammar

    ○ Difficulty remembering facts

    ○ Difficulty understanding the rules of grammar

    ○ Difficulty learning and retaining information, relies on memorization without complete understanding of concept

    ○ Difficulty with word problems in math

    ○ Difficulty following a sequence of directions

    ○ Difficulty understanding jokes, idioms, metaphors, and figures of speech

    ○ Difficulty learning a foreign language

○ Obsessions with particular topics, known as “special interests” in the autistic community

○ Talking about a special interest brings comfort and happiness, conversation is limited to or focused on a special interest

○ Not interested in talking about topics besides a special interest

○ Spends long periods of time researching a special interest and categorizing information on a special interest

○ Has a “comfort item” such as a toy, blanket, or stone, may take item everywhere and refuse to part with it, doing so causes anxiety, sadness, and/or a meltdown

○ Superior long-term memory

○ Weaker short-term memory

○ Prefers to be self-taught and direct learning

○ Intense interest in literature and writing, may have taught self how to read before formal education, may be hyperlexic

○ Prolific writer

○ Deep thinker, curious

○ Drawn to philosophy, may have shown interest and curiosity in subjects such as death and the meaning of life since childhood

○ Prefers visual and kinetic learning, needs to get hands-on to understand topics

○ Highly creative and imaginative, drawn to art and writing

○ Art and writing relieve anxiety

○ Enjoys music, may be interested in songs and lyrics

○ Tasks with several steps can be troublesome

○ Difficulty remembering and following verbal instructions, needs written instructions to complete a task

○ Difficulty locating objects

○ The thought of having to leave the house for an event causes anxiety, may avoid leaving the house, talking to people, or confronting people

○ Upcoming events cause a feeling of dread of anxiety

Easily irritated and/or frustrated, avoids and/or gives up on tasks that are not easily overcome or mastered

○ Difficulty lying, may appear to be naïve, gullible, trusting, or a “pushover”

○ Tendency to be logical and see things at “face value” and take figures of speech, jokes, sarcasm, metaphors, etc. literally

○ Odd combination of strengths and weaknesses in regards to memory, executive functioning, motor skills, academics, intelligence, and interests

Motor Skills/Physical/Sensory/Routine:

○ Poor motor skills, may be clumsy or cumbersome, difficulty holding a pencil, kicking a ball, writing/drawing by hand, etc.

○ Auditory processing difficulties, may take a moment to process and interpret words, speech, and noises, may have auditory processing disorder (APD)

○ Odd gait or posture, may walk on toes or drag/shuffle feet, may sit in a crouching or perching position

Learning to ride a bike or drive a car can be difficult due to a lack of necessary skills

○ Becomes non- or semi-verbal when stressed, overwhelmed, or tired (i.e. being unable to speak, speaking takes a lot of effort and is tiring/exhausting, words feel “stuck”)

○ Experiences meltdowns/shutdowns when stressed, overwhelmed, or tired, may cry, scream, become snappy/irritated/impatient, or become withdrawn (may appear to be a “temper tantrum”)

○ Thumb-sucking lasts past childhood into adolescence

○ Bed-wetting lasts past childhood into adolescence

○ Experiences insomnia

○ Not a “morning person”

Has a co-morbid chronic illness, such as IBS, gluten intolerance, allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, seizures, epilepsy, etc. (endometrioosi)

○ Resistance to and/or inability to cope with change, which causes anxiety

○ Adheres to a daily routine, straying from routine causes anxiety

○ Likes to sit in the same seat in the car or at meals, wear the same outfit, or eat the same food

Sensory issues, sensitive to textures, touch, sound, taste, smells, light, etc.

Avoids loud or harsh noises, bright light, certain tastes/textures/smells

○ Experiences “sensory overload,” may experience a meltdown or shutdown if sensory input is too much to handle

Dislikes physical contact with people, resists hugs/kissing

○ Engages in self-stimulating behavior to soothe, cope with sensory input, and/or express emotion, known as “stimming” by autistic community

○ Visual stimming includes watching moving objects such as water, leaves, or cars, and waving or fluttering fingers in front of eyes

○ Physical stimming includes spinning, jumping, waving arms, flapping hands, swinging, waving or fluttering fingers, flicking or rubbing fingernails, rubbing hands against a surface or texture, bouncing legs, rocking, chewing or sucking on objects, fidgeting with toys, and petting/stroking/twirling hair

○ Vocal stimming includes shrieking, laughing, singing, humming, repeating sounds or words (echolalia), and clicking tongue

○ Auditory stimming includes listening to music, blocking out noise, and listening to sounds

○ Prefers comfortable clothes over stylish clothes, may have a favorite shirt or outfit, may cut tags off of clothes due to sensory issues

○ Has or has symptoms of sensory processing disorder (SPD)

○ Has a “sixth sense,” notices the presence of people, may dislike standing close to people or standing in front of people

○ Has an odd tone of voice, may speak with an odd inflection, in a monotone voice, with an accent, or too loudly/softly for a situation


○ Difficulty understanding “social rules,” may be unaware of boundaries and personal space

○ Difficulty understanding the “social hierarchy” and roles within a family or classroom, may act as a teacher to their peers

○ Shy and quiet in social situations, may be an introvert

○ Loud and aggressive in social situations, may cross boundaries

○ Clings to one or two friends, prefers to have a small friend group

No interest in socializing or making friends

○ Prefers to interact with people who are younger or older, little interest in peers of the same age

○ Has trouble keeping up a conversation, whether face-to-face or online, may abandon conversations due to anxiety or boredom

○ As a child, preferred to talk to teachers than peers, may view peers as “boring” or “stupid”

Dislikes and avoids eye contact, eyes may wander during conversation

○ Appears rude due to lack of understanding of “social rules,” not making eye contact or using “appropriate” body language, or dominating discussion/reverting discussion back to self

○ Dislikes “small talk,” prefers to have “intelligent” discussion, talk about self, or talk about a special interest

Difficulty understanding social cues such as body language, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions, may not be able to read emotion

○ Taught self how to act “properly” in social situations and/or read emotion, may mimic people in real life or on television

Conversation and socializing is anxiety-inducing and exhausting, may need a lot of rest and “de-stressing” after socializing

Tendency to be bullied, shunned, mocked, teased, or ostracized by peers

Tendency to over-share

Difficulty understanding what is and isn’t considered “socially acceptable,” may be blunt and considered “offensive” or “rude”

Difficulty knowing when to speak, may interrupt

Considered annoying by peers, “unable to take a hint”

○ Sense of humor is “quirky” or “odd,” may not understand typical humor used by peers

○ Excess apologizing

Difficulty knowing when a mistake has been made, may not apologize


Escapes through imagination, may have maladaptive daydreaming disorder (MDD)

Intense, overwhelming emotions

Hyper- or hypoempathetic

Highly imaginative and creative

○ May have had imaginary friends as a child

Easily distracted, gets “lost in thoughts”

Fantasy brings comfort and relief

○ May not be interested in fantasy

Prefers to play with toys in an “unusual” manner, may spend time setting up scenes with toys without acting out a scene, may line up or organize toys, etc.

Prefers fantasy over reality

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