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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Is Your Partner or Spouse on the Autism Spectrum? - Comprehensive List of Traits Associated with ASD


You think your partner or spouse may have autism? This comprehensive list will give you a better clue. Here you will find the majority of symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – level 1. The individual will not usually have ALL of these traits, however:


1.    An awkward gait when walking or running
2.    Anxiety
3.    Averts eye contact, or keeps it fleeting or limited
4.    Avoids eye contact altogether
5.    Benefits from schedules, signs, cue cards
6.    Can only focus on one way to solve a problem, though this solution may be ineffective
7.    Can recognize smells before others
8.    Can’t allow foods to touch each other on the plate
9.    Can't extend the allotted time for an activity; activities must start and end at the times specified
10.    Carries a specific object
11.    Complains of a small amount of wetness (e.g., from the water fountain, a small spill)
12.    Complains of clothing feeling like sandpaper
13.    Compromises interactions by rigidity, inability to shift attention or “go with the flow,” being rule bound
14.    Confronts another person without changing her face or voice
15.    Continues to engage in an ineffective behavior rather than thinking of alternatives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

16.    Covers ears when certain sounds are made
17.    Creates jokes that make no sense
18.    Creates own words, using them with great pleasure in social situations
19.    Difficulties with fine motor skills
20.    Difficulties with gross motor skills
21.    Difficulty accepting new clothing (including for change of seasons)
22.    Difficulty applying sufficient pressure when writing, drawing
23.    Difficulty coordinating different extremities, motor planning
24.    Difficulty discriminating between fact and fantasy
25.    Difficulty in auditory areas

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

26.    Difficulty in gustatory areas
27.    Difficulty in olfactory areas
28.    Difficulty in tactile areas
29.    Difficulty in visual areas
30.    Difficulty incorporating new information with previously acquired information (i.e., information processing, concept formation, analyzing/ synthesizing information), is unable to generalize learning from one situation to another, may behave quite differently in different settings and with different individuals
31.    Difficulty initiating, maintaining, and ending conversations with others
32.    Difficulty maintaining the conversation topic
33.    Difficulty understanding the meaning conveyed by others when they vary their pitch, rhythm, or tone
34.    Difficulty using particular materials (e.g., glue, paint, clay)
35.    Difficulty when novel material is presented without visual support
36.    Difficulty when throwing or catching a ball
37.    Difficulty when touched by others, even lightly (especially shoulders and head)
38.    Difficulty with any changes in the established routine
39.    Difficulty with clothing seams or tags

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


40.    Difficulty with direction following
41.    Difficulty with handwriting
42.    Difficulty with independently seeing sequential steps to complete finished product
43.    Difficulty with motor imitation skills
44.    Difficulty with organizational skills (e.g., What do I need to do, and how do I go about implementing it?)
45.    Difficulty with Reciprocal Social Interactions
46.    Difficulty with rhythm copying
47.    Difficulty with sequencing (e.g., What is the order used to complete a particular task?)
48.    Difficulty with task completion
49.    Difficulty with task initiation
50.    Difficulty with transitions

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

51.    Displays a delay when answering questions
52.    Displays a lack of desire to interact
53.    Displays a lack of empathy for others and their emotions (e.g., takes another person’s belongings)
54.    Displays a limited awareness of current fashion, slang, topics, activities, and accessories
55.    Displays a limited awareness of the emotions of others and/or how to respond to them
56.    Displays a strong need for perfection, wants to complete activities/assignments perfectly (e.g., his standards are very high and noncompliance may stem from avoidance of a task he feels he can't complete perfectly)
57.    Displays a strong olfactory memory
58.    Displays abnormal gestures/facial expressions/body posture when communicating
59.    Displays an inability to focus when surrounded by multiple sounds (e.g., shopping mall, airport, party)
60.    Displays anxiety when touched unexpectedly
61.    Displays average or above average intellectual ability
62.    Displays average or above average receptive and expressive language skills
63.    Displays difficulty analyzing and synthesizing information presented
64.    Displays difficulty as language moves from a literal to a more abstract level
65.    Displays difficulty monitoring own behavior
66.    Displays difficulty sustaining attention and is easily distracted 

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

 
67.    Displays difficulty understanding not only individual words, but conversations
68.    Displays difficulty with inferential thinking and problem solving (e.g., completing a multi-step task that is novel)
69.    Displays difficulty with problem solving
70.    Displays difficulty with volume control (i.e., too loud or too soft)
71.    Displays discomfort/anxiety when looking at certain pictures (e.g., the person feels as if the visual experience is closing in on him)
72.    Displays extreme fear when unexpected noises occur
73.    Displays high moral standard
74.    Displays rigid behavior
75.    Displays rigidity in thoughts and actions
76.    Displays strong letter recognition skills
77.    Displays strong number recognition skills
78.    Displays strong oral reading skills, though expression and comprehension are limited
79.    Displays strong spelling skills
80.    Displays strong word recognition skills
81.    Displays unusual chewing and swallowing behaviors
82.    Distractable and has difficulty sustaining attention
83.    Does not appear to comprehend the facial expressions of others
84.    Does not appear to comprehend the gestures/body language of others
85.    Does not ask for help with a problem
86.    Does not ask for the meaning of an unknown word

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

 
87.    Does not inquire about others when conversing
88.    Does not make conversations reciprocal (i.e., has great difficulty with the back-and-forth aspect), attempts to control the language exchange, may leave a conversation before it is concluded
89.    Does not observe personal space (is too close or too far)
90.    Does not respond to temperature appropriately
91.    Does not turn to face the person he is talking to
92.    Does not use gestures/body language when communicating
93.    Easily activated gag/vomit reflex
94.    Emotional responses out of proportion to the situation, emotional responses that are more intense and tend to be negative (e.g., glass half-empty)
95.    Engages in competing behaviors (e.g., vocalizations, noises, plays with an object, sits incorrectly, looks in wrong direction)
96.    Engages in intense staring
97.    Engages in obsessive questioning or talking in one area, lacks interest in the topics of others
98.    Engages in repetitive/stereotypical behaviors
99.    Engages in self-stimulatory behaviors (e.g., hand movements, facial grimaces)
100.    Engages in self-stimulatory or odd behaviors (rocking, tics, finger posturing, eye blinking, noises — humming/clicking/talking to self)

 

 

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

101.    Excellent rote memory
102.    Fails to assist someone with an obvious need for help (not holding a door for someone carrying many items or assisting someone who falls or drops their belongings)
103.    Fails to inquire regarding others
104.    Failure to follow rules and routines results in behavioral difficulties

105.    Fearful of the sounds particular objects make (e.g., vacuum, blender)
106.    Feels need to complete projects in one sitting, has difficulty with projects completed over time
107.    Few interests, but those present are unusual and treated as obsessions
108.    Finds some smells so overpowering or unpleasant that he becomes nauseated
109.    Focuses conversations on one narrow topic, with too many details given, or moves from one seemingly unrelated topic to the next
110.    Focuses on special interests
111.    Frustration if writing samples are not perfectly identical to the presented model
112.    Has a large vocabulary consisting mainly of nouns and verbs
113.    Has a set routine for how activities are to be done
114.    Has a voice pattern that is often described as robotic
115.    Has an extensive fund of factual information
116.    Has an unusual pencil/pen grasp
117.    Has developed narrow and specific interests; the interests tend to be atypical (note: this gives a feeling of competence and order; involvement with the area of special interest becomes all-consuming)
118.    Has difficulty shifting from one channel to another; processing is slow and easily interrupted by any environmental stimulation (i.e., seen as difficulty with topic maintenance). This will appear as distractibility or inattentiveness

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder


119.    Has difficulty with feelings of empathy for others. Interactions with others remain on one level, with one message
120.    Has rules for most activities, which must be followed (this can be extended to all involved)
121.    Has specific strengths in cognitive areas
122.    Has tics or facial grimaces
123.    Has unusual fears
124.    Ignores an individual’s appearance of sadness, anger, boredom, etc.
125.    Impaired reading comprehension; word recognition is more advanced (e.g., difficulty understanding characters in stories, why they do or do not do something)
126.    Impairment in prosody
127.    Impairment in the pragmatic use of language
128.    Impairment in the processing of language
129.    Impairment in the semantic use of language
130.    Inability to prevent or lessen extreme behavioral reactions, inability to use coping or calming techniques
131.    Increase in perseverative/obsessive/rigid/ritualistic behaviors or preoccupation with area of special interest, engaging in nonsense talk
132.    Inflexible thinking, not learning from past mistakes (note: this is why consequences often appear ineffective)
133.    Insistence on Set Routines
134.    Interprets known words on a literal level (i.e., concrete thinking)
135.    Interrupts others
136.    Is not aware of the consequences of his “hurtful” behavior
137.    Is oversensitive to environmental stimulation (e.g., changes in light, sound, smell, location of objects)
138.    Is unable to accept environmental changes (e.g., must always go to the same restaurant, same vacation spot)
139.    Is unable to change the way he has been taught to complete a task

140.    Is unable to focus on group goals when he is a member of the group
141.    Is unable to make or understand jokes/teasing
142.    Is unable to select activities that are of interest to others (unaware or unconcerned that others do not share the same interest or level of interest, unable to compromise)
143.    Is unaware he can say something that will hurt someone's feelings or that an apology would make the person "feel better" (e.g., tells another person their story is boring)
144.    Is unaware of unspoken or “hidden” rules — may “tell” on peers, breaking the “code of silence” that exists. He will then be unaware why others are angry with him
145.    Is unaware that others have intentions or viewpoints different from his own; when engaging in off-topic conversation, does not realize the listener is having great difficulty following the conversation
146.    Is unaware that others have thoughts, beliefs, and desires that influence their behavior
147.    Is under-sensitive to environmental stimulation (e.g., changes in light, sound, smell, location of objects)
148.    Knows how to make a greeting, but has no idea how to continue the conversation; the next comment may be one that is totally irrelevant
149.    Lack of appreciation of social cues
150.    Lack of cognitive flexibility
 

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


151.    Lacks awareness if someone appears bored, upset, angry, scared, and so forth. Therefore, she does not comment in a socially appropriate manner or respond by modifying the interaction
152.    Lacks awareness of the facial expressions and body language of others, so these conversational cues are missed. He is also unable to use gestures or facial expressions to convey meaning when conversing. You will see fleeting, averted, or a lack of eye contact. He will fail to gain another person's attention before conversing with her. He may stand too far away from or too close to the person he is conversing with. His body posture may appear unusual
153.    Lacks conversational language for a social purpose, does not know what to say — this could be no conversation, monopolizing the conversation, lack of ability to initiate conversation, obsessive conversation in one area, conversation not on topic or conversation that is not of interest to others
154.    Lacks facial expressions when communicating

155.    Lacks the ability to understand, attend to, maintain, or repair a conversational flow or exchange — this causes miscommunication and inappropriate responses (unable to use the back-and-forth aspect of communication)
156.    Laughs at something that is sad, asks questions that are too personal
157.    Limited or abnormal use of nonverbal communication
158.    Looks to the left or right of the person she is talking to
159.    Makes comments that may embarrass others
160.    Makes limited food choices
161.    Makes rude comments (tells someone they are fat, bald, old, have yellow teeth)
162.    Meltdowns (e.g., crying, aggression, property destruction, screaming)
163.    Must eat each individual food in its entirety before the next
164.    Narrow clothing preferences
165.    Narrow food preferences
166.    Narrow Range of Interests

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

 
167.    Needs to smell foods before eating them
168.    Needs to smell materials before using them
169.    Needs to touch foods before eating them
170.    Non-compliant behaviors
171.    Observes or stays on the periphery of a group rather than joining in
172.    Once a discussion begins, it is as if there is no “stop” button; must complete a predetermined dialogue
173.    Only sits in one specific chair or one specific location
174.    Overreacts to pain
175.    Patterns, routines, and rituals are evident and interfere with daily functioning
176.    Plays games or completes activities in a repetitive manner or makes own rules for them
177.    Poor balance
178.    Poor impulse control
179.    Prefers factual reading materials rather than fiction
180.    Prefers structured over non-structured activities
181.    Purposely withdraws to avoid noises

182.    Rarely varies the pitch, stress, rhythm, or melody of his speech. Does not realize this can convey meaning
183.    Responds with anger when he feels others are not following the rules, will discipline others or reprimand them for their actions
184.    Rigidity issues tied in with limited food preferences (e.g., this is the food he always has, it is always this brand, and it is always prepared and presented in this way)
185.    Rules are very important as the world is seen as black or white
186.    Rushes through fine motor tasks
187.    Shows a strong desire to control the environment
188.    Sits apart from others, avoids situations where involvement with others is expected
189.    Smiles when someone shares sad news
190.     Socially and emotionally inappropriate behaviors
191.    Stands too close or too far away from another person
192.    Stands too close to objects or people
193.    Stares intensely at people or objects
194.    Takes perfectionism to an extreme
195.    Talks on and on about a special interest while unaware that the other person is no longer paying attention, talks to someone who is obviously engaged in another activity, talks to someone who isn’t even there
196.    Touches, hugs, or kisses others without realizing that it is inappropriate
197.    Under-reacts to pain
198.    Unsure how to ask for help, make requests, or make comments
199.    Uses conversation to convey facts and information about special interests, rather than to convey thoughts, emotions, or feelings
200.    Uses facial expressions that do not match the emotion being expressed

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

201.    Uses gestures/body language, but in an unusual manner
202.    Uses language scripts or verbal rituals in conversation, often described as “nonsense talk” by others (scripts may be made up or taken from movies/books/TV)
203.    Uses the voice of a movie or cartoon character conversationally and is unaware that this is inappropriate
204.    Uses visual information as a “backup” (e.g., I have something to look at when I forget), especially when new information is presented
205.    Uses visual information as a prompt
206.    Uses visual information to help focus attention (e.g., I know what to look at)
207.    Uses visual information to make concepts more concrete
208.    Uses visual information to provide external organization and structure, replacing the person’s lack of internal structure (e.g., I know how it is done, I know the sequence)
209.    Uses words in a peculiar manner
210.    Views the world in black and white (e.g., admits to breaking a rule even when there is no chance of getting caught)
211.    Visual learning strength
212.    When processing language (which requires multiple channels working together), has difficulty regulating just one channel, difficulty discriminating between relevant and irrelevant information
213.    When questioned regarding what could be learned from another person's facial expression, says, “Nothing.” Faces do not provide him with information. Unable to read these “messages,” he is unable to respond to them
214.    Will only tolerate foods of a particular texture or color



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

"Tone of Voice" Matters: Tips for Neurotypical Spouses

“When I’m frustrated with my spouse [with ASD], I usually make a concerted effort to not show it. That is, I try to stay calm. But even when I make a neutral comment - something non-threatening - he still says I’m being critical… so that’s when he just leaves the room and does his version of a shutdown. What am I doing wrong here!? Again, I think I’m being (actually pretending) to be calm when I try to discuss our issues with him. We can’t discuss anything anymore!”

What I find most often is that the NT’s tone of voice changes even though she is “trying” to remain calm when approaching her ASD spouse. But unless you are a VERY GOOD actor, your true attitude will “leak out” in your tone (i.e., inflection that seems a bit “off” to the listener).

A MAJOR source of sensory-overload for a person with ASD is voice – especially tone of voice! The individual often analyzes voice-tone first, and then decodes the words used by the speaker later. Any voice inflection by the speaker that remotely conveys a negative attitude (e.g., sarcasm, irritation, criticism, etc.) may be detected - and taken personally.

A negative tone can be offensive to an ASD spouse, particularly if he is not sure why the speaker is using a particular inflection (e.g., “Is she upset with me?” “Did I do something wrong?” “Why does she sound mad?”). A loop effect can occur in his thinking process (i.e., mulls over the comment made by the speaker long after the conversation has ended). Anxiety and agitation can increase as he attempts to analyze the motives of the speaker.

What we’re really referring to here is your spouse’s obsessive way of thinking. One of the most troublesome traits of the disorder may be the tendency toward repetitive thoughts (i.e., ruminations).

While the ability toward extreme focus can be a strong point for a person on the autism spectrum, it’s a problem when he can’t shift away from thinking about things that are not of his choosing. Often, the individual gets caught up in worries, dwells on past slights from his NT spouse, ponders his own mistakes, and has problems letting go of past hurts.

 

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




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