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Common Traits

autism-common traits_AsIAm Ireland's National Autism Charity

Autism affects millions of people across the world in a countless number of ways. It’s not as simple as having one or two of the things off the list below and assuming you have Autism. Nor is it fair to say that people on the Autism Spectrum will be affected by all of these traits. These traits are simply common traits and difficulties of those on the Autism Spectrum, as we will continue to emphasise on the site, the condition affects people to varying degrees in varying ways.

Social Skills

  1. Struggle with eye contact
  2. Difficulty with reading or displaying emotions
  3. Preference for own company/spend majority of time alone
  4. Difficulty with the ability to read social cues, find difficult to initiate, maintain or conclude conversation
  5. Difficulty with turn-taking in conversation – tendency to speak only about own interests, not answer questions or interrupt
  6. Problems with social editing
  7. Difficulty with interacting with people on a group basis. Dislike or cannot bear social gatherings such as parties
  8. Tendency to socialise through interests i.e. membership of a club
  9. Need for consistency in social situations i.e. games must always be played by the same rules, inability to cope with unexpected events in a social situation (person arriving who was not expected), learning some lines of conversation which can be inserted into specific social situation.

Communications Skills

  1. Either non-verbal, limited verbal or highly verbal
  2. Problems with word finding
  3. Inappropriate use of words/lack of understanding of vocabulary
  4. Tendency to take phrases/idioms literally
  5. Tendency to have a monotone tone of voice or an unusual accent/voice experimentation
  6. Lack of facial expressions
  7. Lack of basic sense of humour
  8. Find it difficult to articulate frustrations/causes of upset


  1.  Requires routine and certainty in day-to-day life – can become distressed at breakdown in routine
  2. May have “melt-downs” if things don’t go as planned or if they cannot deal with their surroundings or if they are struggling to communicate their frustrations
  3. Unconventional play – collecting objects, sorting, colour coding or lining up are classic examples.
  4. Determination to win or come 1st in games. Habit of interrupting others’ turns.
  5. May have a special interest or obsessive topic to which they wish to study, talk about, play with all the time
  6. Daydreaming or floating/walking around without purpose
  7. May be very hyperactive
  8. Tendency to run, jump, move erratically or flap hands (linked to sensory processing)

Sensory Processing

  1.  Struggle with/cannot bear certain sounds, smells or textures. Equally may be attracted to others and may have favourite texture, sound, smell. May eat only very specific food.
  2. Find open spaces hard to process. Manage better in enclosed surroundings
  3. May use voice experimentation
  4. High pain threshold

Experience of other traits? Share them with us!

Can this be improved? Contact webeditor@asiam.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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