Autism

Women and Autism Checklist of Symptoms: Social Symptoms

Could you be a woman with undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder?

Posted Jun 18, 2020

We are increasingly discovering that women with autism present in different ways to men with autism, which often means their symptoms can be overlooked. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects women in many ways but if you find yourself taking an online test for ASD, you may find that the questions do not resonate with your experience. 

I have put together a list of symptoms based on what I have learned from working with numerous women with ASD. The list is not designed to be a diagnostic tool but it may be a starting point to help you establish whether or not you display a significant amount of ASD symptoms.

I have broken the list of symptoms down into various categories, the first of which is "social." Women with ASD often struggle socially, feeling uncomfortable in social situations, finding it hard to work out people's motives, and feeling exhausted and overwhelmed after socially interacting. On the flip side, they tend to be excellent at mimicking other people and learning to "pass" as normal.

It can be difficult for a woman with ASD to establish whether she has ASD or is socially anxious. The following list may help you work out whether ASD could explain some of your social difficulties.

Have you, or do you currently find yourself:

  • Being bullied by other people?
  • Being sexually abused?
  • Being emotionally abused?
  • Monitoring your behaviour and responses in social situations?
  • Feeling confused in social situations?
  • Feeling exhausted after a group meeting/party?
  • Drinking to cope with social situations?
  • Feeling tongue-tied in social situations?
  • Disliking “small talk?"
  • Favouring one-on-one relationships to group relationships?
  • Wanting to talk about issues/hobbies you are passionate about?
  • Needing a “checklist” for what to say when you meet new people?
  • Feeling awkward and out of place?
  • Putting in effort to say and do the right thing?
  • Needing time alone to recharge?
  • Finding it hard to understand and follow directions?
  • Difficulty in making and maintaining eye contact?
  • Desiring a very few close friends rather than a large group of friends?
  • Being happy to go long periods without catching up with friends?
  • Finding it hard to identify with other women?

If you identify with several of the above, and if they have caused you problems socially, it may be worth exploring how ASD presents in women in greater detail. For information and support please visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenwithautismauthentically

To find a therapist, please visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.