Signs of Level 1 Autism in Adults

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.
signs level 1 autism adults

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.

Ritvo Asperger & Autism Diagnosis tool


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    2022-03-05 at 6:19 AM

    This seems to me very helpful. People do share this.

  • Reply
    2022-12-28 at 2:22 PM

    Clear info. I had a kind of ‘intimite’ relationship with one for 9 years. Very confusing. I couldn’t cope anymore at the end and ended the relationship after a final ‘miscommunication’:

    I knew she was looking for someone to write an advertorial about her and her just starting business in a local newspaper but couldn’t find someone suitable to write it. She was quite fed-up with the issue. Kept talking about it (as usual on her topics).
    I told her just to wait another two weeks (till her birthday) and she would get her advertorial I promised. Not telling how.

    Ofcourse I wrote the (long) advertorial myself and gave it to her as a birthday present. She was pleased but not obviously greatfull in any way. The advertorial was accepted by the newspaper without changes. I even delivered the photo of her with it.
    About a week later I got a payment on my bankaccount from her, in name of her business, of E47.50,- (?) for the advertorial.
    I was just perplexed and humiliated. But she had no clue about what was wrong with it at all emotionally.
    She explained in detail that with a formal payment to me she could keep her costs of this advertorial in her books and draw some tax-money back. Clever.
    Why E47,50,-?

    Few years before we had an argument about a parking-ticket on my car of E95,- in the street she lived. She had a permission-parking card for visitors. We both forgot that day (morning) to change the time on the card in time.
    We agreed to split costs (E47,50,- each). She never payed. I soon forgot about it. But she obviously didn’t.
    Her payment was exactly half of that parking-ticket. So in fact she didn’t pay me anything for the advertorial.

    This all might seem something minor. Not to end a relationship about. But with (Level 1) Autists this ‘logical’ behaviour adds up year after year till you go crazy and blow-up yourself.

    A week after I ended the relationship her sister in law called me how I was doing. We had a warm/understanding contact somehow through the years. I was deep down and confused I told her.
    She confessed to me her husband (my ex-partners brother) was diagnosed with Asperger many years ago and their son was too. Also my ex was diagnosed with Autism/Asperger many years ago (before I met her) she told me.

    Then it all started to fall in place with some searching on the net.
    I had been dealing with an Autist for 9 years.
    All the traits you mention in your article fit perfectly. Although she was also very clumsy in finer motory skills.
    Never managed to drive a gear-shift car (had to be automatic) or to cook food properly. For a long time I thought this was funny and a charme but it often became quite annoing for she wouldn’t accept her limitations.
    I.e. she wanted me to learn her the skills of sailing. By then I knew by instinct and experience this would be invane.
    The motory skills and coördination needed with sailing are far more complex then driving a gear-shifted car.
    She tried to learn me that car-skills too. Totally invane. I sought to spare her the embarresment by gloming it over with nice words and avoiding/ignoring her willfullness to learn something she just couldn’t learn.

    This brings me to her stubberness not to give up fighting the ‘impossible’. She never ever gave up on things that mattered to her self. Against all odds she persisted in her ‘black and white’ behaviour very strong and often very clever. I have to give her this credits. But with no other perspectives on people and the World than your autistic own, this ofcourse becomes a lot easier to do and a recipy to fail time after time again.

    You proclame you are a (Level 1) Autist yourself. Then you should reqocnise this all but without any ’emotional’ clue why your ‘logical’ behaviour can be so upsetting to ‘normal’ people.
    This is why I normally don’t react to Autists on the net.
    But your clear article motivated me to write this reply.

    Happy New Year

    • Reply
      2023-09-19 at 3:03 PM

      If the wholly logical rational behaviour from autistic people bothers you, imagine how it feels for us to live in a world that rejects logic and common sense? Every considered how hard it is for us to live with someone that doesn’t decide things on what is logical and obvious, but instead, via ever changing, fickle, subjective emotional states. You make it sound like you were so hard done by living with this, by your own words, very intelligent, logical person. I imagine it was hell for her living with someone like you, that puts barriers on her and demands she not even bother trying things she wants to do because she ‘doesn’t know her limitations’, and scorns her for using *logic*. Seems you might have a disorder of your own, perhaps narcissism?

Leave a Reply