[Checklist] Are you autistic? Autism signs and symptoms in adults


autism checklist aspergers asperger autism mom blog mommy austin texas

Autism signs and symptoms checklist for adults

I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.

If you’re here, you probably found this post on Google looking for “Signs of autism in adults“. If you’re wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope you’ll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why I’ve always felt different. I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.

In the meantime, if you’ve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.

Signs of high-functioning Autism (Asperger’s) in adults:

Communication (Verbal and non-verbal):

  • Difficulty seeing the other person’s perspective.
  • Autistic people often have a hard time picking up on body and facial language cues.
  • Difficulty making eye contact, discomfort during conversations
  • Show compassion but may be confused by social signals and body language.
  • Autistic people often repeat the same phrase or expression over and over again.
  • Problems starting a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation. Small talk is very hard for me.
  • Difficulty making out people’s intentions. For example, an autistic person may have a hard time understanding that someone is using humor or being sarcastic.


  • Appear shy or avoid initiating social contact
  • May have difficulty fitting in with other people due to not following social norms or ways of dressing yourself. Would rather be comfortable than stylish to a fault.
  • Very few friendships and difficulty maintaining the ones you already have.
  • May appear rude to other people.
  • Trouble processing certain thoughts and expressing your needs to others.
  • Difficulty with social imagination. Difficulty understanding idioms, people with autism often take things very literally.
  • May have a social phobia.


  • Repetitive behaviors. Things have to be a certain way. Rituals…
  • Obsessive interests – Take a deep dive when interested in something
  • Anxiety/depression, more than 2/3 of adults with autism also suffer anxiety and/or depression.
  • Average or superior intelligence.
  • Only a few areas of interests but can be very knowledgeable on one or more subjects.
  • Stimming, unusual body movements. This one can be harder to spot because it becomes easier to hide as we get older. For instance, it can manifest as rocking or hand flapping.
  • Clumsiness, lack of coordination.
  • Sensory issues, from mild to severe. You can be over-sensitive or under-sensitive. Noises, textures, smells, tastes…
  • Rigidity, love routine, autistic people become anxious when their daily routine is changed.

autism checklist

Here are some autism signs that we noticed in my son, Charlie between 18 months and 2 years old.


  • Delayed Speech (note that with Asperger’s there is no speech delay)
  • Speech Regression
  • Does not answer to name
  • Does not greet people
  • Can not follow directions
  • Cannot communicate needs

Social Skills:

  • Ignores other children
  • Likes to be alone
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Is in his own world
  • Sometimes gets scared or bothered for no apparent reason and covers his eyes/ears


  • Lines up toys
  • Can occupy himself for extended periods of time
  • Focuses on details of his toys and misses their broader purpose (just spins the wheel on a car)
  • Gets upset by minor changes
  • Strange sleep habits (sleeps on floor, etc…)
  • Gets frustrated easily
  • Has obsessive interests (balls, wheels, light switches)
  • Play with toys the exact same way for long periods of time (i.e. repetitively pouring water from one cup to another)
  • Likes routines
  • Gets “stuck” on things and can’t move to other activities
  • Hand flapping
  • Very picky eating
  • Very attached to specific objects
  • Throws intense temper tantrums

For a more in-depth article about some signs and symptoms of autism in children, check out my post here.

If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.

Online Asperger Test

Here are a few online Asperger’s tests. A high score on those online Asperger tests does not mean you have autism BUT it’s worth bringing it up to your doctor and looking into more.

Ritvo Asperger & Autism Diagnosis tool






Get Eileen Lamb’s  book, All Across the Spectrum here

To see more of my autism blog posts, click here.

To see more of my mom blog posts, click here.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Jacklynn Herrmann
    2017-10-29 at 9:40 PM

    I think I may have adult, high functioning autism. I am 60 years old. I have always felt like I am an alien in a world with rules that I can’t understand. I rock myself quite a bit, especally when I am sad or distressed. People do not seem to understand me. I can make very strong, intense friendships but they always end with those people walking out of my life with no explanation. My family, including my son have pushe’d me out of their lives. I have tried to keep the family ties together. The result is that my family is very close with each other but have made it very clear that I was not included in the family unit any longer. I love to make jewelry but have found out that I am most happy spending untold hours organizing my many beads. I am sorry for so much information. This is just a small fraction of the life that I have lived. I need to know why I am the way I am. I want to know who and what I am. Well, enough for now. Thanks for reading this.

    J. Herrmann

    • Reply
      2017-11-01 at 6:36 PM

      Hi Jacklynn,
      You’re not alone. I’m here because I sometimes think that I must have some minor form of autism myself. I feel different much of the time. Many people don’t seem to understand me or want/need me around. One thing I always tell myself is that I must first love myself…that I should worry about that and let everything else happen as it will. There’s only so much you can control.

    • Reply
      2017-11-01 at 9:49 PM

      Thank you for your comment Jacklynn. If it’s possible, I’d recommend looking for a therapist in your area who does therapeutic assessments. If that’s not an option, do your own research about autism to try to figure out if you are on the spectrum. Having a diagnosis definitely helped me to be kinder to myself. I’d be happy to chat with you if you have any questions. Best, Eileen

      • Reply
        2021-09-18 at 3:01 PM

        So because you’re different, you’re sick?
        You’re the sick one. Rejecting shy people makes you the REAL autist.

        Jacklynn Herrmann isn’t autist or anything. Just a regular human being. But that family that reject other isn’t human. Because being attach to someone or something, wanting to be honest and not hypocritical likes others is what makes human a human.

        Stop telling bullshits like that and stop your sectarianism.

    • Reply
      2018-07-31 at 1:08 PM

      I am sorry about your family and I am sorry but I had to laugh when you talked about organizing your beads. I don’t do jewelry but that is SO me too! One of my favorite things in life has been to organize things. I have many of the traits and I am soon to be 64. I discovered it when I saw an article written by a woman about autism in adult women. She has an extensive questionnaire that, as I read it, I kept saying, Oh my god that’s me! Knowing that explained so much of my life that I never understood and it also helped me to understand that I wasn’t crazy or lacking something when I don’t understand others & why they say or do things. I thought about getting a professional assessment but even the idea of making the appointment and opening myself up to someone brings up a lot of anxiety I just can’t seem to justify it! I don’t even know why I should at this stage except that I would like to be able to say, “I am on the spectrum and yes I have a diagnosis”.

  • Reply
    2017-10-31 at 5:25 AM

    I could really use some help here. My husband has been diagnosed with severe adult add, anxiety and depression, and was told he is on the spectrum but not officially diagnosed. I came to your blog because he is blowing our family apart. He isn’t managing his mental health, and allowed himself to get stressed into a dissociative state, where he is hidden or trapped inside his autism. he said he was leaving us without the blink of an eye. We’ve been married for 16 years and have children. He is abusive and horrible to me when he is like this. i am taking his keys to make sure he goes to the doctor appointment and doesn’t leave without me, because he will tell them everything is fine. He wants to refuse his medication. No one understands or is even very nice when I am trying to cope with him like this. We run a business. I have to transfer all the money into my account when this happens. i was frantic looking for him when no one saw him for two hours this morning, he didn’t show at the jobs and we didn’t know where he was bc he wasn’t picking up his phone. i was trying to get him to a doctor appointment which he cancelled. I love getting shit from interior designers when i am trying to make sure my mentally ill and autistic husband gets treatment. Our lead carpenter almost quit he was so freaked out by the drama. It took me five minutes to try to get through to him that he was threatenng to quit. He looks at me like he doesn’t know me, has no emotional ties to me. I cannot express in words how much this hurts. I am alone here trying to keep him safe, keep him from destroying our family and our business. he will leave us, and when he does he winds up sleeping in his car within a week. I don’t know what to do anymore. We have three boys. Two have high functioning autism. The third and oldest will not speak to his father and has lost almost all of his respect for him – not becuase of the autism, but becuase of his repeated pattern of emotional and physical abuse. I am just at my wit’s end. I need this cycle to stop.

    • Reply
      Nancy Ferrara
      2017-11-08 at 4:59 PM

      You mentioned ‘medication ‘ …. some medications can have side effects, manifesting similar symptoms. Anti depressants are some of these. AND the doctors will not know, or deny any knowledge.
      I don’t want to open a door to another problem, but information can help you unravel his erratic behavior. Good luck.

    • Reply
      2017-11-08 at 10:36 PM

      With all of this going on, it is very important to use good self-care. You can’t help anyone if you don’t take care of your needs. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for all that you are doing to hold things together. And remember, some things are beyond our control no matter how much we want them to be different. Find some way to get emotional support for yourself.

    • Reply
      2021-12-06 at 3:51 AM

      He is ADHD, anxious, depressed and probably autistic. You mention that he is abusive.

      The mental issues of someone don’t excuse a shitty behavior. You need to take care of yourself and your children first.

  • Reply
    Doirin Ni Uaitine
    2018-01-22 at 12:39 AM

    Where in Dublin can I have a test.

  • Reply
    Doirin Ni Uaitine
    2018-01-22 at 12:40 AM

    Where can I have a test in ireland

  • Reply
    Macy Smith
    2018-03-03 at 6:47 AM

    I just want to share this amazing article that shows that autism rates are low near the equator and get higher the further north you go! Which means that autism is associated with Vitamin D3 deficiency because Vitamin D3 is a hormone (not a vitamin) that is made in your skin when the sun hits it. It is a powerful tissue/immune system remodeling/modulating hormone that controls 2,000+ of your genes- many involved with the immune system.>>>>

    • Reply
      2021-04-02 at 11:49 PM

      I just need to comment on this because this has nothing to do with autism. The fact that autism rates are low near the equator is that most poor countries are near the equator and the healthcare system just doesn’t prioritise diagnosis of Autism when there are life threatening diseases so prevalent. Richer countries are further north, hence more people tend to seek out autism diagnoses in these countries. This comment is like saying that because there are lower rates of autism near the equator but at the same time higher Ebola rates near the equator then Ebola must cause autism. Completely unrelated.

    • Reply
      2022-05-16 at 1:20 AM

      Yes!!! Why isn’t this being shouted from the roof tops?? And the US RDA’s need to be reevaluated & the numbers changed accordingly! The recommendations are totally wrong for a lot of vitamins, especially D3

  • Reply
    Joelle Baker
    2018-03-04 at 11:05 PM

    I myself have been through the same i have spina bifida, dislexia, A. D. H. D I was always told i dont belong here anyway I have been to different psychiatrist and psychologist they both didn’t make me feel any better than when I went in they both labeled me with manic depression which I don’t have at all I have ADHD big difference needless to say I have been told my whole life i dont belong or i am retarded or just stupid myself I don’t like being around people, in my whole life people have hurt me in every way possible, to the best of my abilities I take one day at a time and keep smiling

    • Reply
      2021-07-07 at 10:25 PM

      Hi Joelle, have you been checked for an MTHFR mutation? Some of the problems you list are common to people with that gene mutation. Since it is a genetic problem it isn’t curable, but understanding what supplements and foods will make it better or worse is very helpful to reducing symptoms of other conditions. I think it would be worth it for you to get a blood test to check and either rule it out or, if confirmed, learn how to improve your health so the condition affects you less. For me, getting the diagnosis of homozygous MTHFR C677T and making dietary and other adjustments dramatically improved my mental and physical health.

  • Reply
    Gill Barnes
    2018-03-12 at 8:23 PM

    I have been through all the conditions you mention in one way or another. I lost my first child to spina bifida. Both my sons aged 32 and 34 are dyslexic and I suspect my eldest is autistic. He managed to get a Degree with my help so it is possible. The younger was epileptic as a child. My husband is dyslexic too. I could well be autistic as I have always found it awkward to talk to strangers and even people I know and felt like an outsider looking in. I have always felt that I didn’t “fit in”. I can be a bit obsessive and quite honestly prefer solitude. I try to overcome it and make myself do things outside my comfort zone. It’s not easy I know but there is help out there and I know how you feel. Don’t give up.

  • Reply
    Terry Brpwn
    2018-03-15 at 9:57 PM

    Terry Brown i hear everything you wrote. I’ve tried all i know to be included in family and friends circles and felt excluded every. Time . the desire to be excepted by these groupd doesn’t seem to pierce the bubble i seem to be held in. Understanding. My separation from them doesn’t help with the isolation Ifeel.

  • Reply
    2018-03-26 at 6:03 AM

    I feel like I may be on the autism spectrum. I’ve never felt like I’ve fit in. I’m very reserved & don’t like socializing. I like hearing about peoples’ lives—what I call their stories—but I don’t want to get to know them. Growing up, I basically had one friend at a time, but friendships never lasted. In a group of girls, I was always the odd one out. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become even more of a loner & prefer my own company. Being around others for any length of time is draining. Chit-chat is something that really gets on my nerves. I’ve been depressed for as long as I can remember & take antidepressants. I love animals. I love my family, but still crave time to myself. I used to think I was just very independent, but now I think it’s more than that. I’ve never related to other women very well. I think I’d be relieved to know whether I was on the spectrum or not because I’ve always felt so weirdly different.

  • Reply
    Ciara Quigley
    2018-03-29 at 12:52 AM

    I live in Galway in Ireland and would like to see if any other Irish person in this blog community knows of a clinician anywhere in Ireland who is qualified to diagnose autism “spectrum” disorders?
    I share many of the symptoms that people have described in this blog, but would like an official diagnosis, just to find out whether I am in the “spectrum” or not.
    I have had developmental difficulties since childhood. I have communication problems plus difficulty picking up the correct information on a daily basis. Sometimes when I try very hard to understand or pick up information, I get a tension headache from the effort in trying to process it. It means that I cannot be relied upon to go to a meeting in work and disseminate the information to colleagues who couldn’t be present at the meeting. It also means that minute-taking would be impossible for me to do. Highly embarrassing, frustrating and mind-boggling at the same time.
    Sadly I found that I was not a suitable candidate for university or third-level study, due to my inabity to pick up on information and learn. Consequently I feel I have missed out, by not having a qualification of any kind. It makes me feel very “left out” compared to other people who are well educated and got good jobs as a result. This to me feels very odd, as I do have an interest in certain subjects such as physics, maths, art and creative writing, that people do study at third level.
    At primary school I was described as “backward” by a teacher. I certainly felt that way sometimes, but at the opposite end, at other times. It was a bit like being in a parallel universe, I suppose.
    I had a mental breakdown of sorts when I changed from primary school to secondary school. My parents then sent me to another secondary school and that made a huge difference. However I eventually succumbed to communication difficulties and found I wasn’t able to make friends. Luckily for me, my classmates were friendly and relaxed about it. But the odd feeling of isolation led to learning difficulties and bad exam performances.
    I find that I am always aware of myself, somehow. That, I know, sounds odd. But it stems from a deep feeling of insecurity that I have about myself all the time. I am not the confident, mature person that I know I should be.

  • Reply
    2018-04-04 at 5:26 AM

    I am a 33 year old woman. As a child I was diagnosed with OCD, and as an adolescent I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Over the decades I have worked very hard at studying social norms, and getting my OCD under control. I still have some OCD behaviors, and a lot of anxiety but things are much better than they were. Eye contact has never come naturally to me and it’s very uncomfortable. I have trained myself to look people in the eyes, and it works some of the time but it takes most of my focus. I don’t like being touched by people. I have a few sensory issues. I absolutely hate change and struggle to deal with it. I love being by myself. I only wear sweats. I dislike socializing. Once in a while I need to be overstimulated, like going to the Mall of America, but I have time to emotionally prepare for it. I get anxiety leaving my house. I’m very bad at small talk. I’m very logical and literal though I have a dry sense of humor. I am obsessed with electronics, specifically Apple computers/iPads/phones. I’ve owned hundreds over the last 15 years. People tend to think I’m rude. I do what makes me comfortable and tell the truth. I’ve grown to be able to hug some people, but my mom still points out when I make fists while hugging someone. Hugs make me quite uncomfortable. Most things make me uncomfortable. My husband is very loving and supportive. Luckily he happens to be a Sr social worker. He wonders if I should see a specialist to get an official diagnosis. He wonders if it’ll help me to know for sure. I have a hard time leaving my house alone. I struggle with things like going to the store, getting a haircut etc. I don’t like therapy at all. The thought of it is overwhelming and stressful. It’s clear to me I have some issues, but I don’t know if hearing it from a dr will change anything in my day to day. Has the diagnosis helped some of you? If so, how? Thanks for your time.

  • Reply
    2018-04-21 at 10:11 AM

    Here are some links I found with info about being tested in Ireland which may be helpful. Sorry I don’t have a specific organization to refer to – I live in the US.

  • Reply
    Joy Beverly
    2018-04-24 at 7:26 PM

    Hello there [Checklist] Are you autistic? Autism signs and symptoms in adults – The Autism Cafe

    Find your audience, build a relationship and sell your products.
    Reach your business goals with AWeber’s email marketing and automation platform.
    With AWeber, you get all the email marketing tools you need to create and send beautiful and engaging emails.
    For a behind-the-scenes look at how you can use AWeber.
    Sign up free to our Test Drive email series:

  • Reply
    Jan S.
    2018-04-25 at 5:11 AM

    Hello, I am glad I found your website. I was diagnosed as a child with autism. I always felt different than other children. Had only a few friends in early grade school. I tended to stay to myself a lot even in junior high and high school. When I played with toys as a child (dolls) I tended to focus on organizing their accessories rather than actual imaginary play activity. At some point I was evaluated again. I was not told I have Asperger’s until I was 20 years old. My grandmother did not want me to marry or have children because of it. I did marry and had one daughter. I have 2 grandchildren. I am 58 years old.

    When I moved to a different state I encountered more difficulties with social things than I had ever encountered in my life, finding that many people in South Carolina despise children, teens, and adults who are autistic. I told someone I thought was a friend here in conversation, however she had noticed certain mannerisms and suspected. This revealed fact though in confidence resulted in widespread gossip. I could no longer attend worship. I wasn’t welcome in one other activity I had participated and contributed greatly to (I had been in that activity for several years time). This has affected me greatly. I don’t walk as much any more (for exercise). I stopped associating with my neighbors. People did not know what I was, but they do now. They treated me normally when they did not know about Asperger’s. They used to be kind and friendly to me. I go to counseling now for what good that will do. Neighbors that now “know,” some speak to me now as though I am deaf or they avoid me when I am walking instead of waving as they used to do.

    When this gossip occurred my relationship got a little more difficult because I was kind of being bothered by all this and got depressed. I think I am doing all I can do to get over this hurt.

    The newspaper I used to write for (volunteer writing articles for community talent) after one or two people heard, they began to put reprint articles depicting Asperger’s adults as annoying, harassing and even dangerous. Then the media went further with all the shootings when one reporter reported that one of the shooters of the past few months was either autistic or had Asperger’s.

    The state where I came from has a lot bigger towns and suburban areas so I never felt a lot of hatred there. Of course I told very few people. I feel stupid for divulging this. I have earned two degrees and a few certifications. I have owned 3 businesses (one of them registered with Dun and Bradstreet) in the past. I am almost sorry that my grandmother worked so hard with me to help me to talk. It made me reach out socially to have a friend and it caused trouble. I caused it. Bad choice to reveal accomplishment to someone who was not kind enough to understand and accept.

    I just want more people to know that not all of us are mean. I’ve never been a criminal. If someone is unkind I back off because my grandmother taught me that others are more important than whatever fear or sad feelings I get now and then. No one who took the time to actually know me would say I am annoying or harassing or rude, although when others began to publicly be unkind, I would get agitated and I would just turn around and leave.

    The people who raised me died because they were old (my grandparents). I feel they did a good job with me. I wish there was another way to learn besides making mistakes.

  • Reply
    Steve J
    2018-06-15 at 7:02 AM

    Hey Jan
    That was brave of you being so open on a blog comment and I appreciate your feelings.
    I am a 57 year old Australian with High Functioning Autism and have come to realise how important it is to communicate experiences.

    I am currently a full time Health Worker and Student Nurse. Actually this my fifth career things change very quickly in Australia.

    I will be finished study end of this year and intend to work in the field of Autism.

    Please continue to communicate if you would like to share experiences both past and present

  • Reply
    2018-07-09 at 9:06 PM

    I’m kind of wondering if I have mild autism. A lot of that social stuff applies to me. People often think I am rude even though I’m really trying hard not to be. Most of the time I am trying to be polite but I am extremely nervous in social situations. I repeat the same thing when I am nervous as well. I can’t see things from other peoples perspectives either. I have no friends, but when I did, I couldn’t maintain them because I can’t function in social situations. I do have social anxiety, but I think it goes beyond that because I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I am overly sensitive and I can’t tell the difference between humour or sarcasm. I got offended when a co-worker told me that I didn’t need to go home when we had mandatory because I don’t have kids but she does, and so I can’t get upset over being mandated. So I took that the wrong way, but she said she wasn’t trying to be mean, and I got offended for no reason. So I take offense to things I don’t need to. People have also found to be really weird too, and that goes all the way back to Kindergarten when kids don’t really notice things. I’ve always been bullied and I am going to be 32 soon. I am clumsy, and I have depression as well as anxiety. I’m not overly smart or anything though. I’m actually quite stupid, and I’m not good at anything either, like I don’t have any talents. So I think if I have it’s mild. I could be super wrong though, but I feel like most of the social and some of the miscellaneous stuff applies to me.

    • Reply
      2021-09-18 at 3:04 PM

      Don’t believe what others say. You’re not sick.

  • Reply
    B. Henry
    2020-05-24 at 7:34 AM

    About routines “Rigidity, love routine, autistic people become anxious when their daily routine is changed.”.
    I actually feel easier doing things the same way.
    I felt irritated/nervous under the cold/lukkewarm-shower when coming home after shopping only.
    Also not lik being forced too eat at home 7 days a week.
    Due to Corona I had too.
    And I showered 5 out of 7 days before, always when coming home. I stood at home only on weekend .
    My body interestingly also likes routines more.
    Thats probably why I feel better showering after a dinner in a restaurant or a cafe than without this important rituals
    Im a picky eater, but became better, texture of food becoming less hindrance for me eating some meals.
    Do you eat picky too?

    • Reply
      2021-09-18 at 3:05 PM

      Don’t believe what others say. You’re not sick.

Leave a Reply