Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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Traits of ASD that “Soon-to-be” Neurotypical Spouses Need to Be Aware Of

“Would there be a list of traits associated with autism spectrum disorder that I could share with my sister (engaged to a man w/ASD) to help her understand him more? He really is a good guy, but sometimes he’s ‘difficult’ to understand.”  


Below are some of the most prevalent features of ASD observed in relationships and other social situations. These traits are just that – TRAITS. They are not “personality flaws” or behavior designed to be purposefully offensive.

The following are traits that can cause confusion for the NT partner. The individual with ASD:

  • may have only one approach to a problem
  • may have signs of Tourette syndrome (motor, vocal or behavioral)
  • can be confused by the emotions of others and have difficulty expressing their own feelings
  • can be very sensitive to particular sounds and forms of touch, yet lack sensitivity to low levels of pain
  • may have difficulty conceptualizing and appreciating the thoughts and feelings of others
  • may have difficulty establishing and coping with the changing patterns and expectations in daily life
  • may not seem to be aware of the unwritten rules of social conduct, and will inadvertently say or do things that may offend or annoy other people
  • may find that eye contact breaks their concentration
  • often fails to comprehend that the eyes convey information on a person’s mental state or feelings
  • may exhibit inappropriate laughter 
  • lacks ‘central drive for coherence’ (i.e., an inability to see the relevance of different types of knowledge to a particular problem)
  • lacks subtlety in retaliating when threatened; may not have sufficient empathy and self-control to moderate the degree of expressed anger
  • may be less able to learn from mistakes
  • is less aware of the concept of personal space
  • may be lost for words due to a high level of anxiety 
  • may become aware of their isolation and, in time, are genuinely motivated to socialize with others, but their social skills are immature and rigid - and others often reject them
  • may talk to themselves or “vocalize their thoughts” 
  • may talk too much or too little, lack cohesion to the conversation, and have an idiosyncratic use of words and patterns of speech
  • is often aware of the poor quality of their handwriting and may be reluctant to engage in activities that involve extensive writing
  • often has the inability to ‘give messages with their eyes’
  • is often very stoic, enduring pain with little evidence in their body language and speech that they may actually be experience agony
  • once their mind is on a particular track, they appear unable to change (even if the track is clearly wrong or going nowhere)
  • uses predominantly a visual style of thinking (and learning)
  • prefers factual, nonfiction reading
  • prefers to be left alone to continue their activity uninterrupted
  • routine is imposed to make life predictable and to impose order, because novelty, chaos or uncertainty are intolerable 
  • may seem to evoke the maternal or predatory instinct in others
  • social contact is tolerated as long as the other people talk about facts and figures – and not emotions
  • has a strong desire not to appear ‘stupid’
  • has a strong preference to interact with people who are far more interesting, knowledgeable, and more tolerant and accommodating of their lack of social awareness
  • has a tendency to interrupt; has difficulty identifying the cues for when to start talking
  • exhibits the tendency to make irrelevant comments
  • may appear “lost in their own little world” – staring off into space
  • may avoid “team playing” at work or in the marriage because they know they lack competence, or are deliberately excluded because they are a liability 
  • may be detached from - or having difficulty sensing - the feelings of others


ASD is primarily characterized by impaired social interaction and limited social-emotional reciprocity. This impairment may go well beyond poor social skills and being socially awkward, depending on the individual’s current anxiety-level. Partners of the autism spectrum tend to have a disconnection in their responses to others if a high-level of emotional intelligence is needed for the interactions. However, as stated previously, this tendency has no malicious intent.


Resources for couples affected by ASD: 

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

1 comment:

  1. It is very important to understand that "may" means a likelihood, but we are not all the same. Many ASD people dislike touch, others may be hyper-romantic and crave human touch and intimacy. Some may appear harmless, while others over-obsessed with trying to prevent hurting another's feelings. Some may appear aloof, while others may overtly to connect with and help people.

    We are not all Sheldon Cooper, but we usually are very well meaning and caring. Just in ways that don't always match social expectations.

    ReplyDelete

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