- Social challenges. People with autism often have difficulty understanding and responding to social cues. This can make it hard for them to make friends, maintain relationships, and understand the unspoken rules of social interaction. For example, your partner may have trouble making eye contact, initiating or maintaining conversations, or understanding sarcasm.
- Communication difficulties. People with autism may also have difficulty with communication. They may have trouble understanding what others are saying, expressing themselves clearly, or using language in a social way. For example, your partner may ask the same question over and over again, have difficulty following instructions, or use language that is literal or concrete.
- Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. People with autism often have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. They may become fixated on certain topics or activities, and they may repeat certain movements or phrases over and over again. For example, your partner may spend hours reading about a particular topic, line up toys in a specific order, or flap their hands when they are excited.
- Sensory sensitivities. People with autism may be sensitive to certain sounds, smells, tastes, textures, or light. This can make it difficult for them to cope with everyday experiences, such as going to the grocery store or riding in a car. For example, your partner may cover their ears when there is loud noise, avoid certain foods because of their texture, or become overwhelmed by bright lights.
- Challenges with executive functioning. Executive functioning is a set of skills that help us plan, organize, and complete tasks. People with autism often have challenges with executive functioning, which can make it difficult for them to manage their time, follow through on instructions, and handle unexpected changes. For example, your partner may have trouble starting a task, staying on task, or finishing a task.
It is important to note that not everyone with autism will exhibit all of these signs. The signs and symptoms of autism can vary widely from person to person. If you are concerned that your partner may be autistic, it is important to talk to them about your concerns and to seek professional assessment.
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
- The Autism Society of America: https://www.autismspeaks.org/
- The National Autism Association: https://www.nationalautismassociation.org/
- Autism Speaks: https://www.autismspeaks.org/