Traits and characteristics
An autistic person may experience challenges with social communication and interaction, have intense interests and a strong need for routines and predictability, and be hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input.
No two autistic people are alike, but can often experience difficulty with social skills and executive functions, and have sensory needs that are different from those in the neurotypical population.
Within these areas of challenge, autism will be expressed in different ways for each person, e.g. difficulty making small talk or having a balanced conversation, sensitivity to certain sounds or textures, and the need to stick to a daily routine. The traits experienced may change during the lifetime of a person as coping mechanisms or compensation strategies are learned and appropriate support is provided. However, this does not mean that the person has grown out of their autism. It would be more accurate to say that they have ‘grown into’ their autism, a process that is never finished and requires a phenomenal amount of energy to maintain.
Many of the challenges autistic people face are not self-perceived as ‘symptoms’ of their autism but as difficulties created by their environment: a society that largely refuses to make accommodations for people with cognitive/invisible disabilities.