Ever Wonder If You Might Be Autistic?
Here are some resources to help you get started on your self-exploration journey!
First, let’s look at some common Autistic experiences:
Sensory sensitivities-sounds can be very irritating or even feel painful, fabrics or tags feeling incredibly irritating, lights being too bright, tastes/textures being intolerable, smells being too intense, touch being uncomfortable.
Sensory seeking-listening to loud music, pacing, fidgeting, swinging or rocking, rubbing enjoyable fabrics or textures, preferring deep pressure hugs or weighted blankets.
Uncertainty in social interactions -feeling unsure or anxious when engaging with others, being told your facial expressions are “wrong” for the context of the situation, scripting out how conversations might go before they happen, feeling as if everyone got some sort of manual of social interactions or friendship that you did not receive, mimicking the behaviors of those around to help you feel like you are fitting in.
Preferring sameness or routines, finding comfort in order and lack of visual clutter, preferring known environments, finding it difficult to adjust to change
Being passionate, knowledgeable, and energized about your special interests. Sometimes feeling an insatiable desire or deep curiosity to engage with your special interest to the extent that you might forget to eat, drink water, or tend to other parts of your life because of the hyperfocus you are able to give to your special interests
Finding comfort or regulation in repetitive body movements and/or repetitive sounds
Either struggling to identify your own or other’s emotions or finding yourself very aware of the emotions of others to the extent that you can be overwhelmed by other people’s emotions
Why are so many adults only now being diagnosed or recognizing their Autistic identity? Unfortunately, many people were not diagnosed earlier because they did not present with the limited, stereotypical view of what Autism was. AFAB (assigned female at birth) folks were especially not diagnosed as children because at that time Autism was believed to be more present in males. AFAB people are also more likely to conform to social pressure and can become very good at masking which makes diagnosis more difficult.
If you are wondering if you might be Autistic, I recommend taking a few of the self assessments listed below. Disclaimer: These tools are not perfect and not as affirming as they should be.
If you try one of the self-assessments, reflect on how you feel about your results. Does it feel accurate to your experience? Not sure? It might be helpful to follow people with lived experiences on social media by searching for hashtags: #actuallyautistic #autigender #AuDHD #neuroqueer #neurodivergent #autisticpride. Additionally, if you like to learn via reading books here are a few books to check out:
Unmasking Autism by Devon Price
Divergent Minds by Jenara Nerenberg (content note: much of book is directed at “women” )
Looking for support in your exploration? Interested in formal assessment to obtain documentation for accommodations? Reach out, I am happy to support you in this process!