Today’s topic is “Are You Autistic? 23 Questions To Ask Yourself.” If you’re trying to figure out if you’re on the spectrum or not.
So in this article, I’ll be going through 23 different questions across seven categories of common autistic experiences. So we’ve got feeling different, routine, communication, sensory, attention, social, and emotional.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll get a sense of whether you resonate with these kinds of experiences or not. And that should give you some valuable information as to whether or not you’re on the spectrum yourself.
It can be very helpful and even life-changing to realize you’re on the spectrum, but it’s not usually helpful to tell someone else that they’re on the spectrum if they’re not open to hearing it. It’s all about the inner experiences that autistic people share that only you can know about. So please don’t use this article in an attempt to try and diagnose someone else in your life. So let’s get into it.
Number 1: Have you always felt different from your peers? Maybe you feel like a bit of an outsider, and even when you’re part of a group, you still feel like you don’t really belong, you’re not really one of them.
Number 2: Do you worry about not being believed when you tell others about yourself?
Number 3: Do you find yourself adopting different mannerisms when home alone? Things that you wouldn’t do in public? When you’re home alone and think of things that you don’t do in public? It might be some form of stimming or some other kind of behavior that’s just a more comfortable and more natural way for you, but you do it only when you’re by yourself.
Number 4: Do you have gaps in your skill set? Some simple things that others do naturally but you can’t? You might be talented in some areas, but there are also some simple things that other people can do, other people seem to be able to do naturally, that you find really difficult.
Number 5: Do you like to be prepared and dislike any last-minute changes?
Number 6: Are your routines sometimes seen as ‘extreme’ or ‘odd’ by others? I have a practice of eating the same thing for every mealtime, and other people can’t really believe that it’s that extreme, but actually, it’s completely fine by me.
Number 7: Do you like to focus on ONE thing at a time? Because it takes a lot of effort to shift gears? Do you like to focus on one thing at a time, and find that it takes a significant amount of time and energy to change gears, switch between tasks, and do something else?
Number 8: Do you go through cycles of hyperproductivity and then burnout, working really hard and then crashing or just coping fine for a while and then falling to bits later?
Number 9: Do you struggle to hold down a job, friends, or relationships, perhaps due to misunderstandings or maybe just for no apparent reason at all?
Number 10: Do you have trouble expressing what you really mean, especially under stress?
Number 11: Are there some common types of communication that you find extremely difficult or uncomfortable? So phone calls, emails, or SMS, for example. Many of us have a very strong preference for one of these and severely dislike and actively avoid the others.
Number 12: Are you sometimes gullible, struggling to tell whether people are being serious or not?
Number 13: Do you often wish people would say what they mean and get really angry when people don’t say what they mean because it makes you confused and you don’t know what’s going on?
So in terms of sensory issues…
Number 14: Are you particularly sensitive (or insensitive) to some things? Maybe lights, noise, tastes, smell? Does this lead to significant discomfort in some typical public places and situations, which means that participation in some social activities becomes very difficult or restricted?
Number 15: Do you feel like dealing with the outside world can be difficult and stressful, and you often have significant anxiety about having to go out and face it?
Number 16: Do you often notice things that others don’t? And sometimes things seem obvious to others that are not obvious to you, and you’re kind of left there thinking, “Where is everyone getting this information from? How do they all know this thing?” And it just seemed to not… I just missed the memo that everyone else seemed to get.
Number 17: Do you have uncommon interests or passions that you wish you could share with others, but they just don’t get? Instead, they might be interested in other things that you’re just not interested in at all, which makes small talk and talking with other people really challenging at times.
Number 18: Do you find dealing with people difficult or confusing, especially confusing? And you often find yourself overanalyzing situations before and after, trying to sort of figure out what the best thing to do would be, rather than relying on your instincts.
Number 19: Do you feel like it’s YOUR job to fit in order to find friends? And that if you did a better job in fitting in, maybe you’d find more friends and have better relationships.
Number 20: Do you find that when socializing, you constantly make sure… constantly worried about ‘doing the wrong thing’ socially? Constantly thinking about, “I need to make sure I’m not gonna do the wrong thing?” Either censoring yourself, filtering, masking, or even with friends because you’re not sure if the real you is appropriate. And if you show them what you’re really thinking or what you’d really like to be doing, then you’d be seen as somehow odd or perhaps risk rejection.
Number 21: Do you often feel overwhelmed by other people’s emotions or do you hardly feel emotions at all, and people are surprised that you’re not reacting in the way that they expected you to react?
Number 22: Are you often surprised when people tell you what they’ve been thinking or feeling because you just had absolutely no idea until I actually told you?
Number 23: Have you been periodically labeled with either depression or anxiety or a number of other diagnoses that either keep changing or just don’t quite seem to fit, and people are always looking for a better explanation because there’s something there, something different, and we just can’t put our finger on what it is?
These things that I’ve mentioned are very common autistic experiences. They are just some of the common autistic experiences. It was actually really hard to pick a finite list because I could have picked a hundred different questions, but I’ve tried to pick the 23 that I thought were most useful.
So, I hope you’ve found them relatable, and if you’re thinking that this is you, I would strongly encourage you to take the possibility that you might be on the spectrum seriously. And back to my number one piece of advice that I always give is that meeting other people on the spectrum is the best way to learn about autism. It’s not always immediately obvious what we have in common, but once you get to know us, you’ll get a sense of what we all share, and then you’ll be able to answer the question of if you have that too.
So anyway, I hope you found this article helpful. As I said, the most reliable way to know for sure if you’re on the spectrum or not, especially at the beginning, is if you can relate very strongly to the inner experience of another autistic person who you know to be on the spectrum, and they have shared with you their experience, and you think, “Yes, that’s me. I completely identify with that as well.”
Now, this won’t be your experience with every autistic person, and that’s why I recommend reading resources, reading books written by autistic people, blogs, and videos.
Read More: 12 Fast Facts About Autism.
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