When we think of people who fall on the autism spectrum, many of us assume the stereotypical version of someone who is autistic, much like Sam from Atypical, or Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. However, because autism does fall on a spectrum, there are likely a lot of signs that you would never know were signs of autism.
Autism spectrum disorder is a disorder that is typically diagnosed by a team of specialists who have vast experience in the field of autism. So, please, do not go over this list and decide that you are autistic or that your child is. Ultimately, you need to be diagnosed by a professional because, in some capacity, many of us have symptoms that are similar, but not to the extent of someone who is autistic.
With that said, autism is a type of neurodivergent that causes a person’s brain to function in ways that are not aligned with someone who would be considered neurotypical.
If you are curious about some of the lesser-known signs of autism, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 10 signs.
1. Gastrointestinal issues.
While the cause is unknown, the majority of those who have ASD also deal with difficult stomach problems more frequently than their neurotypical counterparts. Some symptoms may include nausea, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and more.
2. Behavioral issues.
Many people with ASD have repetitive behaviors, and in the case of behavioral issues, it may be hard to get them to break bad habits. Oftentimes, medication can be used, but not all of those who fall on the spectrum respond to meds.
3. Difficulty understanding sarcasm or jokes.
Autistic individuals have a hard time reading social cues or reading between the lines. When someone says something to them in a sarcastic tone, they are very likely to take it literally, unless it is explained to them.
4. Deficits in social communication and interaction.
Those who fall on the spectrum may struggle in social interactions for several reasons. In some extreme cases, they may not even be able to speak at all.
5. Odd posture.
From the outside looking in, the way someone with ASD moves or holds themselves may seem odd. Many believe this is due to the differences in their inner ear and vestibular system, which can make it difficult for them to orient themselves. Additionally, they may struggle with fears of movement and move strangely because of that.
Stimming is self-stimulatory behavior, which is a set of repetitive movements or sounds that people with ASD may engage in to help themselves calm down. Examples of this may be tugging at their hair, rubbing their arm, or murmuring certain words when under duress.
7. Toe walking.
Some individuals with ASD walk on their toes or the balls of their feet, instead of walking on their entire feet. This is likely tied to the above issues associated with odd posture.
8. Speaking literally.
People with ASD are very blunt and very literal. If you say something to them, they take it at face value and do not usually pick up on undertones. Conversely, they do not speak with sarcasm or undertones in most cases, and instead put things very bluntly and very plainly.
9. Sensory dysfunction.
One of the main facets of autism is sensory processing issues. Lights, sounds, and even sensations from fabric on their skin can become so overwhelming that it causes them to have a total meltdown. While this is not specific to autism – it is especially prominent with autistic patients.
10. Propensities towards certain interests.
People with ASD tend to have very specific interests that take up their time and mind. For example, they may excel very well in cooking, while struggling to even so much as try to attempt a basic math problem.