If you’re in a relationship with someone who you think might have autism, it can be tough to know what to do. On the one hand, you want to support your partner and help them get the diagnosis and treatment they need. On the other hand, you don’t want to overstep your bounds or make them feel like something is wrong with them.
Fortunately, there are some things you can look for that may indicate that your partner has autism. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to your partner about them and encourage them to do their own research and talk about getting a diagnosis.
Here are some common signs of autism you can discuss with your partner.
- Trouble Reading Social Cues
One of the most common early signs of autism is trouble reading social cues. If your partner has difficulty understanding jokes, sarcasm, or other forms of nonverbal communication, it could be a sign that they have autism. Although early signs of autism (ASD) can be missed throughout childhood, an adult with ASD can display trouble with social situations.
- Lack of Eye Contact
Another common sign of autism is avoiding eye contact. If your partner seems unable to make or maintain eye contact, it could be a sign that they’re struggling with social interactions. Direct eye contact can be difficult for people who have ASD.
- Obsessive Interests
People with autism often have very intense and specific interests. If your partner seems obsessed with a particular topic or activity, it could be a sign that they have autism. This topic could be anything that fascinates them, and your partner will likely have a vast knowledge of everything about it.
- Difficulty Understanding Emotions
If your partner has trouble understanding or responding to emotions, it could be another sign of autism. This includes difficulty reading facial expressions and body language. Oftentimes people with ASD will take a person’s phrase very literally and not understand the sarcasm or emotion with it.
- Social Isolation
Social isolation can be another sign of autism. People with autism often find social interactions difficult, so they may prefer to avoid them altogether. This is different from simply being an introvert. A person with ASD may have high sensitivity to the noise a large crowd or new environment brings, which can trigger uncomfortable coping mechanisms.
- Unusual Speech Patterns
People with autism at times have unusual speech patterns. This can include speaking in a monotone voice, repeating words or phrases, or using odd words or phrases. Because social interaction, reading social cues, or understanding emotion can be difficult in people with ASD, they may not display their typical speech patterns at all times.
- Repetitive Behaviors
People with autism can engage in repetitive behaviors, such as hand-flapping or rocking back and forth. Those are more obvious signs, and the subtle ones can be harder to spot. These behaviors can help calm and focus people with autism, so they’re not necessarily a bad thing. If your partner displays these behaviors when they are uncomfortable, it could be a sign that they have autism and are dealing with overstimulation.
- Sensitivity to Sensory stimulation
People with autism often have sensory processing issues, which means they’re sensitive to certain types of stimulation. This can include loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures. If your partner seems overly sensitive to these things, it could be another sign of autism.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people with autism are able to live relatively normal lives with the help of therapy and medication, while others may require more intense intervention. There is no wrong way to be on the autism spectrum, and everyone deserves the chance to live the life they want.
If you’re concerned that your partner might have autism, the best thing you can do is encourage them to seek professional help. A diagnosis can be life-changing and help people with autism get the treatment and support they need.