Signs of autism

Stephen McHugh
This post was last updated on
September 14, 2022
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Autism causes one to behave differently to others in terms of their interaction with others and the wider world in general. There is quite a wide range of symptoms. Some of the signs of autism are outlined below, are not exhaustive, and are based on my understanding and experiences. The purpose of this post is to give some idea of the signs. 

PinSocial interactions

There can be differences in the way those of us with autism interact with others during social interaction. You can include situations when we're more interested in our own world rather than being engaged in more important activities with others.

We may have a desire to form and maintain friendships but be unsure how to. This may be linked to difficulties reading social cues, such as trying to work out how one is feeling, and whether one is being serious or joking about something.  Lack of eye contact, failure to acknowledge people when passing them, and failure to understand others’ points of view can be other issues here.

There can also be a situation where one may wish to keep talking extensively about a subject they’re particularly knowledgeable about, even when it’s obvious other people have lost interest. 

Forming and maintaining friendships with autism

Language and speech development delays

At a young age in junior school, I would take precise views of language. A good example here was being told a posh looking car costing an arm and a leg, and thinking that it literally cost an arm and a leg. I later learned that this is just another way of saying a lot of money. I experienced problems with understanding new concepts and applying new knowledge. I sometimes find I need more time with processing new information.

Teaching idioms to kids with autism

Learning to read and write with autism

In addition, I had a lack of babbling, and would only say words when I could say them perfectly. 

Special interests and strengths

Special interests are very common with people with autism spectrum disorder. There may be intense focus on certain topics. People with autism spectrum disorder may be good at certain things that may prove to be very difficult for other people, like playing a difficult music piece well on the piano. They may also be great at mental arithmetic, and carry out difficult sums without a calculator. If channelled in the right way, special interests can play important roles in our development. 

Logical mind

For those of us with autism, we may use logic to help us understand why some things happen in particular ways. This can include studying and looking for certain patterns and rules. A good example where such approaches could be applied is during studying and learning of foreign languages. It is here where there are certain grammatical rules used to show one how to put words together to make grammatically correct phrases. 

Another relevant thing here is having a good memory for memorising and recalling words and their translations. One with autism may therefore be good at learning foreign languages.


When I was very young, loud noises, especially if they were sudden, would be good examples of sensory overloads for me. As I got older, this gradually became less of a problem for me. Nowadays, whenever I experience what I call ‘sensory overload’, I just go somewhere quiet to help myself to calm down and re-adjust. 

Changes in routines

For those of us with autism, routines are seen to be very important, and any changes to such routines can cause upset. As I got older, I began to appreciate more that changes are always going to be a fact of life, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances. This helped me to feel better about changes that may take place. 

During a time when a change of routine is going to take place, it helps to know about it so certain preparations can be put in place beforehand. And have some interesting activities ready to pass the time during the change.

Repetitive behaviours

Sometimes I like to listen to music and, if I like a particular tune, I listen to it again.


If there is reason to believe one is displaying symptoms characteristic of autism, don’t make your judgement based wholly on this post. You should seek advice from an appropriate medical professional.

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