While there are various ways that autism is diagnosed, the most common diagnostics are based on children. This can often be frustrating for adults who recognize that they have signs of level 1 autism but were not diagnosed as a child, and therefore lack many of the coping mechanisms necessary to function in society at large.
Since, beyond professional observation and questionnaires, there are no medical diagnostic tests, it can be tricky to diagnose milder autism in adults. However, there are some signs that you may have level 1 autism.
What are signs of level 1 autism in adults?
- You may struggle with eye contact and social cues:
While each person is different, many autistic adults struggle to read social cues and struggle to maintain eye contact during conversation. While this can be something manageable like nervousness or shyness, it could also be a sign of level 1 autism.
- You may have problems starting a conversation or keeping one going:
Since autistic adults often struggle to read social cues, initiating conversation can be difficult.
- You may have a hard time seeing the other person’s perspective:
You may see things in black or white, right or wrong, and good or bad. You may struggle to see another person’s perspective because of this, if their point of view has any contradictory, paradoxical, or unsure elements, like many do.
- You may be overly attached to routines:
Having a routine can make an autistic adult feel secure and safe, but this reliance on routine could cause problems in your home or work life.
- You may have severe social anxiety
People with autism often find it hard to socialize, and this can lead to extreme anxiety, even panic attacks.
- You may have difficulty with social imagination
You may find it hard to visualize or imagine what things would look like. You might have difficulty with judging how someone will react to something you say or do.
- You may find yourself stimming and fidgetting
Autistic people often stim or move around in an odd or repetitive manner. For example, flapping your hands or twirling pens between your fingers. Or you may do things like fidget with a keychain in your pocket when you find yourself nervous, though many neurotypical people have similar behaviors too.
- You might have meltdowns
When overwhelmed by life, you may have poor coping mechanisms. You might become extremely agitated and destructive, or on the opposite end, completely shut down.
- You may also find yourself getting “stuck” on certain thoughts
Autistic people often struggle to shift their attention away from specific topics, cognitively and emotionally. For example, thinking about a song over and over again until it drives you crazy, or a particular memory.
Online level 1 autism tests for adults
Keep in mind that every person on the autism spectrum is different.
The above list is not a complete list and your experience may differ greatly from someone else’s. These are merely some of the common traits and should be used as a reference point for understanding yourself.
Additionally, here are a few additional online tests you can take. Just remember, you can’t diagnose yourself. See a professional if you suspect you have autism.