Signs of autism in adults
Main signs of autism
Common signs of autism in adults include:
- finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling
- getting very anxious about social situations
- finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own
- seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to
- finding it hard to say how you feel
- taking things very literally – for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like "break a leg"
- having the same routine every day and getting very anxious if it changes
Other signs of autism
You may also have other signs, like:
- not understanding social "rules", such as not talking over people
- avoiding eye contact
- getting too close to other people, or getting very upset if someone touches or gets too close to you
- noticing small details, patterns, smells or sounds that others do not
- having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
- liking to plan things carefully before doing them
Autism in women and men
Autism can sometimes be different in women and men.
Autistic women may:
- have learned to hide signs of autism to ‘fit in’ - by copying people who don’t have autism
- be quieter and hide their feelings
- appear to cope better with social situations
- show fewer signs of repetitive behaviours
This means it can be harder to tell you're autistic if you're a woman.
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- you think you may be autistic
If you already see a health professional, such as another doctor or therapist, you could speak to them instead.
Getting diagnosed can help you get any extra support you might need.
Page last reviewed: 11 November 2022
Next review due: 11 November 2025