Signs & Symptoms of High Functioning Autism in Adults

Parents and medical professionals often catch the signs and symptoms of high functioning autism in children early on, but some individuals reach adulthood before being recognized as autistic. Behavioral maladies such as impaired social, learning and communication abilities indicate high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (another form of high functioning autism) in adults. Immediate attention must be paid to these symptoms to ensure a healthy and balanced life for autistic adults.

Social Skill Impairment

Adults with high functioning autism often exhibit impairment or complete absence of social skills. These adults find social interaction difficult, as they possess an inability to understand non-verbal communication and tend to interpret verbal communication literally, which inhibits them from understanding the finer points of free social interaction. In social situations, they may refrain from initiating conversation, avoid eye contact, retract to solitude or display dislike or indifference toward affectionate physical gestures, such as hugs and touches. According to Autism Info, Asberger’s affected adults might communicate in normal ways, but show extreme interest in special areas, sometimes engaging in uninterruptible monologues on these topics.

Repetitive and Eccentric Behavior

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Whether repeatedly reciting lines from books, constantly repeating a sound or gesture or repeating parts of a previous conversation, those affected by high functioning autism exhibit a need for repetition. Some autistic individuals show extreme and repeated interest in objects, down to tiny trivialities. High functioning autistic adults often feel deeply emotional, but are unable to express this using normal behavior, so mood swings often arise. Those affected by high functioning autism or Asberger’s Syndrome sometimes experience sensory overloads, inhibiting their ability to concentrate; this over-stimulation may result in outbursts. Asberger’s affected individuals may also lack physical coordination.

Mental Development

Though not a “symptom” of high-high functioning autism, signs of adequate or above-average mental abilities differentiate those with high functioning autism from those with low functioning autism. Adults affected by high functioning autism or Asberger’s Syndrome may have IQs of 85 or above; some even have genius-level IQs. When grown-up, these individuals may be able to take care of themselves, exhibiting adequate self-help skills and adaptive behaviors (not including social behaviors). The minds of those with high functioning autism or Asberger’s Syndrome simply operate in a different fashion from most; these minds often excel at science and are characterized as hard working, devoted, extremely methodical and able to focus on small details intensely.