What are your Autistic Characteristics?

It’s generally well accepted that a person can have certain autistic characteristics without being defined as having the disorder.  In fact, Hans Asperger indicated that he saw autistic traits in all the parents of the autistic children he had been able to meet.  (Asperger, H. [1944] ‘Autistic psychopathy in childhood.’).

In light of predisposition, it’s interesting to look at some of my own lifelong idiosyncrasies. For example, I have some real sensory-sensitivities regarding some noises, smells, my skin, and touch.  The mention of the words (and the slightest thought) of fingernails on chalkboard makes my hairs stand on end.  In fact, the chalkboard itself makes my skin crawl, and the feeling of chalk on my fingers is just HORRIBLE.  I can’t stand that dry-skin-chalky-dusty-anything like that feeling.  I hate micro-fiber towels. I can’t stand using certain types of baby-wipes (the dryish feeling ones that don’t pop-up) that I have to grasp.  It’s a feeling that resembles a scream, or raw nerves, or an invisble cold fire.  The sound of dry-ish markers on paper, or markers squeeking on a white board makes me feel the same way. It’s so RAW, it makes me feel like my blood is drying up in my veins.

I like to think that these insignificant (when compared to a disorder) irritations help me to understand Emma better when she’s “Having a Preference” (doesn’t that sound nice?)  I can work on helping her cope instead of telling her she’s wrong. When I can personally relate to something, my capacity for patience, coping, and stamina increases drastically.  It’s a small insight into a part of their world.  What say you?


5 thoughts on “What are your Autistic Characteristics?

  1. Stress makes me sensitive to multiple inputs coming all at once, but generally I have the super resilient gene to just about anything. Otherwise, I might not have fallen in love with Greg. *smiles with a you-know-what-I-mean look.*

    And yes, empathy is powerful stuff. It helps you see beyond the surface and the in-your-face stuff.


  2. amy

    bravo, day!! AMEN. as a woman of “preference,” it has always been hard for me to tolerate things that others find ridiculous–mouth noises, particular textures, odors, rock flute. as i watch my sweet ophelia develop her own preferences, immediate and merciless (head banging, shrieking, back arched, arms flailing and legs kicking) i feel guilty when i see myself in her 14 month old temper. i recognize the immediate rage i feel when i can hear someone chomping and smacking and cracking their gum… i try to hide my sensory anguish and it takes up so much energy! as an adult, i’m supposed to just ignore it. i’m supposed to not be affected by it. i’m supposed to not fantasize that i have psychotic super human strength to reach over and tear out the jaw bone of the offender to make it GO AWAY. i try to take in my baby’s familiar temper, and as strange as it sounds, i find beauty in the freedom of unapologetic preference.


    1. Thank you!!! I love your thoughts on this. AND, I remember your ‘preferences’. I also remember poking fun at them, and at times wondering why you didn’t just ‘get over it’. Hmmmm….. Can I eat my words now? If I do it very quietly, and without slurping or clanging my teeth on the fork??? ❤


  3. dear dear day,
    as your mum, i would like to add to this when i can. i have many memories of you and your preferences. as a wee one you made your likes and dislikes very obvious. not with tantrums, but with an insistence punctuated with frowns and tears. if i would not do it the way you wanted, then by gum, you would do it yourself.
    you have always been a wonder for me. a gift. a sweet generous person. your first day at kindergarten ended with you in tears in my car. you were crying because some other kids were hurting each other. you could not handle this.
    anyway, all who know you are blessed to do so. keep up the blogs, they are precious.


  4. Erin

    I can definitely relate to my anger as one of my great difficulties. It is so hard for me to remain self-controlled about my anger, and yet I am not.
    Then I turn to my child and expect that 4 years is old enough to have mastered self-control … that must be yet another one of my preferences, too.


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