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.


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




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

  1. I identify with most of the things in all of the categories. I will copy the list for future therapist list only.


  2. I’ll print this for myself and my therapist, for both of us to check and see what comes out… I’m pretty sure I’m an Aspie, though…


  3. Seems strange to have all the things I’ve struggled with for years (I’m now 43), and not fully been able to explain, written down. I’ve got a pre assessment with the local ASD centre on Thursday so I may have to print this off to take with me. I’ve been diagnosed with all sorts in the past including agoraphobia (never felt a correct diagnosis!) and anxiety. Everything I’ve read about females with Aspergers, and in particular this list, actually helps make sense of my life. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why, whý, WHY doesn’t éveryone who’s working in the psychiatric field háve this list???
    I was diagnosed as being autistic last year January, at the age of 62, close to 63.
    Been chronically depressed almost all my life, been in therapy for the longest time, nothing helped.
    Over the many years I’ve expressed 3/4th of the things on your list, and if this checklist would have been available thén, I would’ve been diagnosed much earlier, hence led a somewhat easier life much earlier. (heck, I could have diagnosed myself. 😉 )
    Thanks a gazillion, Sam, I do hope many, yet undiagnosed, women will benefit from this, ás will the professional world …. this list is só valuable, IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, yes, just figured out at the age of 55 that this explains my whole life. Samantha’s work is so very valuable. Thank you so much Sam for all you do.


    2. Good question. Having worked in the mental health field for twenty years as a nurse. I can say I had never heard of Aspergers. Autism yes, those were my patients on the developmental disability unit intended as a means of respite for family and caregivers. A very archaic and unfortunately damaging environment. On the other hand, I have been an outcast myself, My obsession for the last few decades was in fact mental health nursing. Meaning I learnt most of socializing and communication from my work environments. I too have seen countless doctors, therapists and what not.
      Thankfully I also have an obsession with geeks and wierdos. Having learned of Aspergers from my personal relationships. I really appreciated this checklist and see myself in all across the board.
      I quit nursing because of the stigma of mental health struggles and the challenges that I encountered by becoming transparent. The trauma of witnessing those forced into care in situations that I thought they were causing more damage than harm. I know I will never be able to work in that role again, and I am grateful for having the opportunity to explore the why.


      1. This comment was powerful for me. I recently left my profession of 15 years after similar experiences and the inability to cope with what I perceived as immoral or incorrect courses of action. I know there is a life outside of my previous career and am just now exploring it. Thank you for sharing!


  5. Are you planning to make this a point-based checklist? Then if you have a score over a certain amount, you could be an Aspie.


  6. not all of it applies – but I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed at how much does. One area I did not find mentioned as much as I expected – issues with social communication: This has made me chuckle and feeling frustrated in equal measure: As a German (serious, don’t like small-talk, tend to stare) living in the UK since 1994 (a LOT of small talk and ritualised social conventions (circling at parties!), I sometimes feel I am getting the worst of both worlds, have no chance of fitting in anywhere now! This may become subject of a stand-up comedy in fact!!


      1. going through the pages, but have not yet found the 116 reasons… >-) gosh, you are thorough! btw – conference next year? that’d be good! 🙂
        As for the not-belonging, I’d like to write a piece about how it teaches us to be at home in the world. I remember the Anglican spiritual teacher who was trying to get me to join and pay for his programme to that end – too late! 🙂


  7. So so many points in this list is things I have tried to explain to therapists, doctors, counselors etc in the past 20 years (and even earlier in my life, even as child, on occasions), trying to tell them where my struggle and problems lie. How is it possible that actually no one ‘heard’ it, saw it, for such a long time and even in the “help system” ?? … instead I was “offered” (is it an offer when there is no choice?) to talk about my mother as “that is where all the problems in a person’s life come from” … or that I “should learn to change my feelings towards the situations” … How the heck do you change your “feelings about” something when it is just confusing and the way many people act just makes no sense? (Besides that what they said I was feeling (or..supposed to be feeling, in such situations??) was NOT what I actually felt.)
    So much more on my mind but right now it refuses to align into words and sentences.


  8. Women always get the short end of the stick, despite the fact that we comprise HALF THE HUMAN RACE. Docs are only RECENTLY figuring out that heart disease presents differently in women than in MEN f’r instance- because they never bothered to do any research on the subject assuming that things were ‘the same” across the board!. So it’s hardly surprising that we are only NOW coming to realize that women present with Aspergers differently from men! This is why we need MORE women in the medical research professions; to NOTICE things like this! And yes: it’s pretty plain to me NOW why I have been an ‘outsider” all my life!


  9. Reblogged this on Being Bethan now and commented:
    Have yet to find a more comprehensive list of female Aspie symptons. Some covered parts of me that I haven’t yet realised or thought about as parts of Aspergers but I am overwhelmed having read this, so much of my life has been built around covering and coping with these statements. Now I know I am not alone. I am not broken. I am not wrong.

    I particually love Sam’s sentence “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”. It emphaises something I am only starting to get through to my family- just because I only have a label for it now does not mean this is not something that goes right back. This is who I am and who I have been.


  10. I’ m from Portugal…I had a sick minded mather, my parents fith a lot at home…I thougth I was diferent because of that…now I find I have some of Aspergers caracthristics, i think…doctors said recently my teenage son is Asperger…I’ m confuse. In Portugal is rare to find someone who understand this sindrome. I feel alone…


      1. Thanks, but I don’ t like facebook…I prefer real people. I had a new neuropsychologist that is helping me and my son. Fortunaly, things are better in that area, but most of population steal ignorant about it, the Asperger Syndrome. I play chess, that helps me to entretain my brain 🙂


  11. Thank you for this. At 45, I have no official diagnosis but have been realising for the last few years that I am not neurotypical and that would explain the reason that someone who was told that she was extremely intelligent could not meet the expectations set for her throughout school. It also explains why I never quite fit in and why I so often miss such blindingly obvious social cues but yet I can be extremely empathic. I have been trying to make sense of myself for decades and hopefully I can use this list to help convince my psychiatrist here in France that I’m not just trying to pin a label on myself.


  12. another thought – looking at the 9 types of intelligence, we are clearly on the side of existential intelligence (snigger as I am trying to hide that I secretly think that’s the ONLY way of intelligence) – so is the rest just downside and coming to terms with being different? (I am asking as one who is not diagnosed and did not until age 62 consider AS applied to her). I am truly grateful that I simply had challenges and oddities to deal with… (of course the downside being that I kept trying to fix myself). That’s just how it is. I like Ruth Searle’s comment that it’s simply regrettable that NTs are simply not able to appreciate differences. How true. 🙂


    1. My doctor think that, after all, I’ m not Asperger…I just have a certain type of neurosis, because of my parents were fithing all the time and my mother was a kind of lullie to me. My husband is an Aspie, like our son. All my life I live with strange people, I guess I don’t know who is “normal” anymore. I have many Aspergres characteristics, so, I will always like Aspies . Good luck to you all, think positive, try to do things you like, remember to be on nature, eat and drink ealthy, just be happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I mean, my mother was my bullie until I as 18 years old…she’ s wird…but never mind, all that is mathers is the Present and the Future 🙂


  14. Genius. And that’s what’s missing: the thorough perfectionist element of genius in identifying and articulating every aspect of female aspies.


  15. A lot of these symptoms are strongly associated with depression and are not likely connected to AS. If you removed all of the symptoms that are associated with depression and anxiety, I would consider it more accurate. However, it’s also likely that people with AS can suffer from depression and anxiety due to the way others treat them because of their odd behaviour while growing up. Certainly if they have been abused in childhood, depression and anxiety would be accompanying disorders; but that does not confirm that all people with AS will suffer from those things. If you haven’t already, perhaps you should check out the Myers-Briggs personality types. There are 16 of them altogether, and a lot of this sounds like INTP and INTJ personalities with depression.


  16. So much so true for me too… thanks for this list and formulating the sections. Pity that the so called professional ‘ experts” seem to ignore what we autistics reveal to them… and only go by their NT designed research instead of reaching out to we who know and don’t merely ” assume”.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so glad I came across this post 🙂 I can relate to this so much and 98% of the list- this is me!
    I’m waiting for my assessment and therefore I’m going to print this off and take it with me – thank you so much for sharing 🙂


  18. I heard about this only last night and started reading and reading and reading some more – ending up with this site, seeing myself, my past but also not fitting in 100% — however, overwhelmed right now and wondering if I should find confirmation/diagnosis … would it help? what is the help actually? I always try to see the positive side of everything and also try to help myself instead of trusting that someone else will do the job for me 🙂
    I feel like so many bad days and bad encounters in my home life are now explained BUT how am I going to change that? Is it enough to understand where I am coming from in order to change without having my husband and others know and/or them also trying to be more understanding towards me ….


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