Females with Aspergers Syndrome Checklist by Samantha Craft

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and based on my experience after 12 years of researching about autism and being officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is not meant to replace the DSM-V Autism Spectrum Disorder definition nor is this list meant to serve as an official diagnostic tool. Hundreds of women have used this list in conjunction with the DSM-IV or DSM-V and a professional mental health professional’s guidance. It is also based on 4.5 years of communicating almost daily with those that are diagnosed with autism and some that believe themselves to be on the spectrum. It is not all inclusive. Some will fit into categories and not be autistic/Asperian. This is meant as a springboard for discussion and more awareness into the female experience with autism.

* Highly intelligent does not relate to IQ levels. Often Aspies are dyslexic and have dysgraphia and other learning disabilities but can be highly intelligent about particular subject matters, out-of-the-box thinking, and verbal fluency capacities.

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Females with Asperger’s Syndrome Unofficial Checklist 

Sam’s book Everyday Asperges is now available here and in multiple countries on Amazon. Strong reviews!

This is an unofficial checklist created by an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha Craft has a Masters Degree in Education. Samantha Craft does not hold a doctorate in Psychiatry or Psychology. She has a life-credential as a result of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and being a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has created this list in an effort to assist health professionals in recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome in females—for in-depth information regarding females with AS refer to Craft’s upcoming book Everyday AspergersTen Traits of Aspergers can be found here.

Suggested Use: Check off all areas that strongly apply to the person. If each area has 75%-80% of the statements checked, or more, then you may want to consider that the female may have Asperger’s Syndrome.

When determining an AS diagnosis (or Autism Spectrum diagnosis) reviewing an individual’s childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and present day is advisable. This particularly applies to communication challenges; many  females with AS teach themselves the communication rules to the point of extreme. A primary identifier might be they are still teaching themselves social and communication rules; in other words they are still rehearsing. (Section A consideration/prolific artist in place of writer and/or both.)

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Section A: Deep Thinkers

  1. A deep thinker
  2. A prolific writer drawn to poetry
  3. *Highly intelligent
  4. Sees things at multiple levels, including her own thinking processes
  5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything, continually
  6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature
  7. Doesn’t take things for granted
  8. Doesn’t simplify
  9. Everything is complex
  10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out” (blank stare)

Section B: Innocent

  1. Naïve
  2. Honest
  3. Experiences trouble with lying
  4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty
  5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation
  6. Easily fooled and conned
  7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed
  8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet
  9. Feelings of isolation
  10. Abused or taken advantage of as a child but didn’t think to tell anyone

Section C: Escape and Friendship

  1. Survives overwhelming emotions and senses by escaping in thought or action
  2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects
  3. Escapes routinely through imagination, fantasy, and daydreaming
  4. Escapes through mental processing
  5. Escapes through the rhythm of words
  6. Philosophizes, continually
  7. Had imaginary friends in youth
  8. Imitates people on television or in movies
  9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students” “consumers” “members”
  10. Makes friends with older or younger females more so than friends her age (often in young adulthood)
  11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, attitude, interests, and manner (sometimes speech)
  12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects
  13. Mastered imitation
  14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over
  15. Escapes through a relationship (imagined or real)
  16. Numbers bring ease (could be numbers associated with patterns, calculations, lists, time and/or personification)
  17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging
  18. Escapes into other rooms at parties
  19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts
  20. Everything has a purpose

Section D: Comorbid Attributes

  1. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste) (might have synesthesia)
  3. Generalized Anxiety
  4. Sense of pending danger or doom
  5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)
  6. Poor muscle tone, double-jointed, and/or lack in coordination (may have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and/or Hypotonia and/or POTS syndrome)
  7. Eating disorders, food obsessions, and/or worry about what is eaten
  8. Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues
  9. Chronic fatigue and/or immune challenges
  10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with a mental illness
  11. Experiences multiple physical symptoms, perhaps labeled “hypochondriac”
  12. Questions place in the world
  13. Often drops small objects
  14. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her
  15. Searches for right and wrong
  16. Since puberty has had bouts of depression (may have PMDD)
  17. Flicks/rubs fingernails, picks scalp/skin, flaps hands, rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, paces in circles, and/or clears throat often

Section E: Social Interaction

  1. Friends have ended friendship suddenly (without female with AS understanding why) and/or difficult time making friends
  2. Tendency to overshare
  3. Spills intimate details to strangers
  4. Raised hand too much in class or didn’t participate in class
  5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger
  6. Monopolizes conversation at times
  7. Brings subject back to self
  8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling (is not narcissistic)
  9. Shares in order to reach out
  10. Often sounds eager and over-zealous or apathetic and disinterested
  11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside
  12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly”
  13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest or feasible new friendship
  14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, body stance, and posture in conversation
  15. Conversation are often exhausting
  16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually
  17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-filter
  18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people
  19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others
  20. Practices/rehearses in mind what she will say to another before entering the room
  21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others
  22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act when in a social situation
  23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, inappropriate, or different from others
  24. As a child it was hard to know when it was her turn to talk
  25. Finds norms of conversation confusing
  26. Finds unwritten and unspoken rules difficult to grasp, remember, and apply

Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone

  1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house but at the same time will often harbor guilt for “hibernating” and not doing “what everyone else is doing”
  2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat (this can even be a familiar family member)
  3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety
  4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar
  5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up
  6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about
  7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings, and appointments, often days before a scheduled event
  8. OCD tendencies when it comes to concepts of time, being on time, tracking time, recording time, and managing time (could be carried over to money, as well)
  9. Questions next steps and movements, continually
  10. Sometimes feels as if she is on stage being watched and/or a sense of always having to act out the “right” steps, even when she is home alone
  11. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk (CBT) doesn’t typically alleviate anxiety. CBT may cause increased feelings of inadequacy.
  12. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind
  13. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time
  14. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest
  15. Uncomfortable in public locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or dressing rooms
  16. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, and/or crowded theater

Section G: Sensitive

  1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep
  2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort
  3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex, and/or precognitive in nature
  4. Highly intuitive to others’ feelings
  5. Highly empathetic, sometimes to the point of confusion
  6. Takes criticism to heart
  7. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood
  8. Questions if she is a “normal” person
  9. Highly susceptible to outsiders’ viewpoints and opinions
  10. At times adapts her view of life or actions based on others’ opinions or words
  11. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily, if not hourly
  12. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work
  13. Views many things as an extension of self
  14. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment
  15. Dislikes words and events that hurt animals and people
  16. Collects or rescues animals (often in childhood)
  17. Huge compassion for suffering (sometimes for inanimate objects/personification)
  18. Sensitive to substances (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, medication, hormones, etc.)
  19. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action
  20. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person
  21. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts

Section H: Sense of Self

  1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in
  2. Imitates others without realizing it
  3. Suppresses true wishes (often in young adulthood)
  4. Exhibits codependent behaviors (often in young adulthood)
  5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule
  6. Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms
  7. Feelings of extreme isolation
  8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work
  9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people
  10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people
  11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years and/or before someone else pointed these out to her
  12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later
  13. Young sounding voice
  14. Trouble recognizing what she looks like and/or has occurrences of slight prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing or remembering faces)
  15. Feels significantly younger on the inside than on the outside (perpetually twelve)

Section I: Confusion

  1. Had a hard time learning that others are not always honest
  2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable (self’s and others’)
  3. Confuses appointment times, numbers, and/or dates
  4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest
  5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth
  6. Jokes go over the head
  7. Confused when others ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray
  8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme
  9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike
  10. Feels sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt her
  11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity
  12. Difficulty recognizing how extreme emotions (outrage, deep love) will affect her and challenges transferring what has been learned about emotions from one situation to the next
  13. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white
  14. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood (all or nothing mentality)
  15. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world
  16. A small compliment might boost her into a state of bliss

Section J: Words, Numbers, and Patterns

  1. Likes to know word origins and/or origin of historical facts/root cause and foundation
  2. Confused when there is more than one meaning (or spelling) to a word
  3. High interest in songs and song lyrics
  4. Notices patterns frequently
  5. Remembers things in visual pictures
  6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life
  7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details
  8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety
  9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words and/or numbers
  10. Words and/or numbers bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship

(Optional) Executive Functioning & Motor Skills  This area isn’t always as evident as other areas

  1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship
  2. Learning to drive a car or rounding the corner in a hallway can be troublesome
  3. New places offer their own set of challenges
  4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic
  5. The thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something can cause anxiety
  6. Mundane tasks are avoided
  7. Cleaning self and home may seem insurmountable
  8. Many questions come to mind when setting about to do a task
  9. Might leave the house with mismatched socks, shirt buttoned incorrectly, and/or have dyslexia and/or dysgraphia
  10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming
  11. Trouble copying dance steps, aerobic moves, or direction in a sports gym class
  12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are; not being able to locate something or thinking about locating something can cause feelings of intense anxiety (object permanence challenges) (even with something as simple as opening an envelope)

This unofficial checklist can be copied for therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, teachers, and relatives, if Samantha Craft’s name and contact information remain on the print out. This list was created in 2012 and updated in May 2016. 

Sam’s best selling book

Author’s Note: This post was originally composed when Asperger’s Syndrome was a stand-alone diagnosis. At that time, not much was written or discussed about females on the autism spectrum, particularly not the rules of semantics to utilize when referring to other autistic women. In the four years since my online writings began, much to do about semantics in relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders has emerged. Even the word “disorder” is a trigger word for some, myself included. Today, I prefer to write “I am autistic” or “I am Aspie,” when referring to myself, instead of “a person with autism/Aspergers.” (People-first versus condition/diagnosis-first) Primarily, because I don’t have Aspergers—rather I am Aspie. Aspergers is innately who I am as an individual and not some tagline—like a disease.With that said, while I am sensitive to the ongoing terminology debate and the growing trend (and need) to move beyond identifying one’s self with a “disorder,” in order to keep the authenticity and voice of the original works, including accurately reflecting how I experienced life and trends in the societal and psychological fields at the time, I chose to not make any specific broad-based terminology alterations in this post.

Samantha Craft (@aspergersgirls) compiled this page. She has corresponded with thousands of individuals touched by autism in their lives. Sam is the author of Everyday Aspergers, a revealing memoir, ten years in the making, about the everyday life of an autistic woman. More information can be found atSpectrum Suite LLC, myspectrumsuite.com

 

 

404 thoughts on “Females with Aspergers Syndrome Checklist by Samantha Craft

  1. Well, I did the checklist here (I was diagnosed officially with Aspergers when I was 12, now I’m 21) and my result was 104/173, not the biggest scores here but it’s a quite significant number… Even when I was younger my doctor told my parents that I wasn’t much of a “strong” case, but of course I was still autistic anyways
    So far the sections I scored the most was section A (9/10) and section D (14/17), when I was younger I didn’t had too much comorbities but now it’s getting out of control, beyond the comorbities of the list I also have chronic dermatitis which I struggle with since I was 13 with the same crisis and probably this will never get better, only get controlled
    I’m considering getting an genetic mapping since I’m showing too much comorbities (especially physical) and I discovered that I was conceived when my dad was getting cancer treatment which can worse the genetic quality of the spermatozoa, and I think it was my case bc I have A LOT health issues (including chronic issues) and both my siblings are totally healthy, also my dad’s family medical history is VERY scary, with lots of cancer (he thankfully survived but a lot ppl have died bc of cancer, including my grandpa), neurodegenerative diseases (more than one) and diabetes (my grandpa almost got blind bc of diabetes type 2 and my dad is pre-diabetic)… It’s quite expensive but I think it’s worth to know what I’m going to have or not I guess?

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  2. Hi Samantha. Firstly thank you for your blog. One section I’m 100% others less others not so sure*. There are two things that are very different for me # 1. organic not structure or order is what fascinates me – that is I do collect things and place things but they are set into naturalistic collections and arrangements (as if they were not arranged by a human at all) not rows or colour groupings (with the exception of my colour pencils as a child which i loved to order). I’m afraid to go to see anyone about this (relationship problems, problems making friends, social isolation – i love being alone but i’m stuck) because i don’t want to be told i have bipolar or BPD etc. All the ASD descriptions are suggestive of only a certain way of gaining comfort through patterns and that is inorganic patterns, maths etc but those are not the ones that absorb me. it’s shadow patterns and abstract rock patterns and formations that make me feel calm and hold constant fascination. 2. my primary obsession being that kind of meditation in nature is not something i talk to people about normally because the whole point of it is it happens in silence. but i do go on and on and on about my secondary interests. they are intense but can shift from one thing to another and eventually i will drop something if i let go of my intense need to tell everyone the truth. this is worse when I’m stressed. if i can find that calm place then i will completely empty my mind of everything else (that’s another contradiction with your list – the only way i can be okay is if i don’t have to think all the time) #2. from early age I noticed people didn’t really like me even when they pretended to, so I have resisted groups and kept to the periphery always. I always have had the feeling i’m the odd one. Always found social things especially discomforting (to the point of getting sick when a friend was coming to stay over or when I went to sleep over at someone’s house. i never liked going out with other families. can i say it here. it literally made me throw up. even though i disliked my Mum interfering and trying to match me up with other girls (daughters of family friends) i made the mistake of trying to get my son to be more social by holding a birthday party for him or getting a play date with another boy at school. he hated it too. so i gave it away. he rather talk to adults.

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    1. oh i forgot to mention the other thing re being easily led or deceived, i have reacted in opposition to that and have a problem with resistance. i have been called a “resister” in my art class and later art school… i think this over zealous guardedness is from my mid 20s when i left a fundamentalist cult and was shunned by a whole community and by family members. i left because they weren’t telling the truth or being honest. i read a book called dangerous persuaders which taught me how to notice when people are trying to indoctrinate you. it’s very strange that the education system does not always encourage critical thinking or independent thought. they often tell students what to think and are not willing to expose themselves to counter arguments or alternative narratives. this is something i observe with great unease. it distresses me when people are just accepting what they are being taught when it is unbalanced or even down right wrong! Anyways. don’t get me started 😀 heh

      Liked by 1 person

    2. thank you for sharing. There are certainly ways in which individuals will vary from the list. It’s hard to say, as I’m not a professional mental health therapist, and texting words is limiting. I wish you the best. you might start by checking out some support groups listed at myspectrumsuite.com under autism 🙂

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  3. Such a relief reading Samantha crafts list as I have all the traits to get it in perspective I like who I am but the psychological abuse from people over 40 yrs really took its toll last year leading to near suicide when I lost my comforter (husband) dad friends, terminal sister etc it’s exhausting being a aspie but forever grateful that at last I know I’m not alone thank you.nicola

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  4. I’m sobbing. Almost every single one of these I’ve checked off. I’m 44 and I cant understand why no one noticed this when I was a child and got me the help I needed!! My life has been so miserable and hard and knowing I could have gotten some help but no one took the time to NOTICE me….it’s devastating at the moment, really. Thank you for this list, so much.

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  5. Since being diagnosed in March this year, formal diagnoses being the day after my 52nd birthday, I find this a really interesting read. I know it is aimed at the female gender, as they tend to go unrecognised due to better ‘masking’ tendencies.
    I relate to most of this…It’s ‘tick, tick. tick. no, tick, tick. no. tick tick….etc!’
    It seems I have spent most of my life masquerading (I prefer this term, as masking seems to me like hiding behind a mask, whereas masquerading you are trying to portray the part)
    Very helpful article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Richard
      I was diagnosed 2 years ago aged 48.. a very helpful discovery, and this article very helpful too as you say, and other resources and books ~ the most useful I find being those written by Aspies, altho maybe the neurotypicals writing about Aspergers make more sense to other neurotypicals(?) It’s an ongoing process making sense of it all (for me anyway).
      Just wanted to say hello, great to see you here as a male relating to this list, thank you for posting, although I feel the distinctions made between male and female are variable and depend a lot on the individual.
      Bless us all and may we all feel loved and supported :))

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  6. I read this and giggled a little, as it reaffirmed in my head that I am an Aspie. A sense of relief to get some understanding of why I am the way I am but also something I’ve come to love because I now focus on the positive traits, the fact that we’re loyal loving independent women who on the surface look like we’re intimidating, a force to be reckoned with when tackling injustice but underneath exactly as you describe…sensitive, trusting, innocent and just want to see the best in people. So well written.

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