Autism in young adults

The comments folks are making about “inappropriate stuff” or “obsessively talking about an interest” don’t really describe this young man. I think he certainly has some interests - like trying to solve algebraic equations for fun, or creating a formula to solve Rubiks cube or researching and trying a zillion hot sauces - but he doesn’t bore others with them.

He is very sociable with his friends, however he NEVER, and I mean NEVER, initiates plans. He does a lot socially, but it is always at the behest of a friend who suggests golf, movie, etc etc

This definitely may be part of it. He was on ADD medication in HS and part of college and admitted that it helped him, but he didnt like the way it made him feel. I don’t think he takes it currently.

He seems to do everything at the last minute. A deadline is needed to get anything done. Even if it is laundry - if he says, I will do laundry on Mondays, then Monday night he will be doing laundry.

According to one parent who talked to him, he was interested in the idea and it doesn’t appear as tho it had occurred to him. I guess getting Dx is only important in that it could change the current treatment for the depression and the approach the family takes to helping him launch. It’s not helpful to say, “Get a job by September” if his potential neurodiversity is making that impossible to do without other supports.

1 Like

Another question - is “magical thinking” a component of autism? There are ways that this young man is “different” and they do center a bit around communication. For example, he did some damage to his car avoiding a deer and never said anything to anyone. It was only when one parent noticed the incredibly obvious damage (not safe to drive) and asked him about it that he said anything.

He has also mentioned the fact that he understands why people cry at sad movies or when they see an emotional story in the news, but he has never felt that way. I don’t think he cried when his grandfather died - he was sad, and knew it was a sad thing, but he did not become emotional. That seems to point to some sort of neurodiversity right?


The big saying with ASD is that if you have met one person with Autism you’ve met one person with ASD, or something like that. It presents differently in each person. I believe the specialist asked questions in 4 different functioning areas and he had to rate a certain level in 2 or 3 of the 4-again not certain. My s has a couple areas of focus but does not ramble on about them if people aren’t interested. He seems to speak appropriately, although he himself recognizes he is often blunt with less filter and rather monotone. He can be impatient. It may be worth looking into having a specialist evaluate if just to rule it out. If he has made it to this age without a diagnosis he may just be less obvious. Some on the spectrum have sensitivity issues, some who get overwhelmed may be more likely to throw a fit/“meltdown” or just leave abruptly without telling anyone. There are so many smaller indicators that will present in different ways in different people. Black and white thinking…my s thought everyone needed to go to college. I would try to explain that wasn’t the case and had several examples of people, never pushed him to go if he had a plan otherwise, but he seemed to insist that everyone had to go to college—the alternative, I guess in his mind was that a person who didn’t go to college was a loser maybe? I think over the past few years he may have finally accepted that there are options, but it took awhile.

1 Like

No, magical thinking isn’t a component of autism, it’s more a sign of schizophrenia. But the example you gave (not telling anyone about the car) doesn’t sound like magical thinking to me. Magical thinking is like “I have powers other people don’t have” or “I can detect secret patterns and messages in everyday occurrences.” Not telling about the car isn’t magical thinking, it’s avoidance due to overwhelm. In other words “I don’t know what to do or say, so I won’t do or say anything.”


I may not be correct in this, but I look at it sometimes as there being certain areas that are more developed in his brain (amazing ability to know facts about his area of interest that he has had since preschool) or ability to excel if he has an interest in something but it almost makes another area of his brain less developed than peers…can’t tie shoes. I think it is common to have a bit of naïveté (child like) in certain areas. It can be endearing, like a child within a grown adult, but not in every aspect of life. Another one is having difficulties reading people or understanding figuratively/literally when people say things. The car thing is interesting…not recognizing that this would be of interest to someone. That is a bit childlike.

At S’s ASD evaluation by an ASD specialist (this is important-specialist in ASD-an appointment with just a psychologist/psychiatrist may not be specialized enough) the dr asked a series of questions that were focused a lot of pre age 5. ASD is present at the beginning from my understanding and doesn’t just develop in older years…it would have been present in pre age 5 years. If friend has S’s baby book or can start thinking of early developmental years it will help a lot. If they make an appointment, start jotting down memories about s from early years…pull out pictures/videos to refresh memory, old artwork. Any communication or motor skill delays? Any aversions to taste/sound/smell/lights? Any meltdowns or strange coping techniques?