Question?: Autism Symptoms In Teenagers

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Donald asks…

My mum thinks I (a 16 year old girl) am autistic??? Is it possible?

I always feel like my mum is assessing my behaviour and that she is wary of my sensitivity to certain situations. Recently I saw her search history and it contained many sites about autism and it’s symptoms in teenagers. I have always been aware of my inability to converse or deal with social situations, but autism never once crossed my mind. I’ll tell you as much relevant things as I can…
I am the top of my class in every subject, but I am specifically good at science and maths. Although I am the top of the class, my weakest subject is English because I find it very hard to concentrate and therefore to read and find meanings. It’s almost impossible for me to read something OUT because I am very awkward and I can’t handle such a situation.
I prefer to not leave the house because I find social situations very daunting and try to avoid them. (however, I am comfortable with my best friend enough to talk to her, but eye contact is a bit of an issue) If I am confronted I find it extremely difficult to start or maintain a conversation and I definitely can’t make eye contant. I am just an awkward person though, right? I try hard though and manage a few words. If I get nervous and start to convulse, my friend improvises.
I am very opinionated and I find it difficult to understand how a person could believe in specific things, but I really try to understand.
If I watch a movie all I can think about it certain aspects of the film that are impossible.
I prefer to be alone. I feel many emotions at once and they are very hard to deal with. I used to cut my wrists and was called into the nurses office but I walked off because she is a stranger to me and I don’t like talking about feelings.
I feel that I seem pretty normal, and my peers would agree. I just have to try very hard to hide these feelings. The only thing immediately visible is that I am shy and that I zone out A LOT (even my teachers notice)
What do you think??
What is autism, exactly?

admin answers:

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way the brain processes information. People with autism have social difficulties – they lack an intuitive understanding of social situations, which causes problems making friends, holding a conversation, behaving appropriately in a social situation, and relating to others. There are other social issues, like lack of eye contact and difficulty reading nonverbal cues. Autistic people also have obsessive interests or fixations. They have a need for routine and sameness, and dislike sudden changes. They engage in repetitive behaviors, called stims (short for self-stimulating). Poor motor coordination is a common symptom as well – as children, people with autism may be delayed in reaching motor milestones like tying shoes or riding a bike. Most autistic people also experience abnormal sensory processing, which leads to sensitivities, difficulty filtering out information, and being easily overstimulated. Autism is a spectrum ranging from low- to high-functioning. If you have autism, you are on the high-functioning end.

If you did not have a speech delay, autism is out of the question. There is another autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s syndrome, though, which is basically high-functioning autism with normal speech development. People with Asperger’s can seem very normal, especially in mild cases. From what you wrote I’m not convinced that you’re on the autism spectrum at all. You mentioned some of the social symptoms, but not other ones like obsessive interests or sensory sensitivities. You sound more like a very shy but non-autistic person. Still, if you’re concerned, you should see an autism spectrum disorders specialist. Your GP should be able to refer you to someone.

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