How to Know if Your Classmate is Autistic

How to Know if Your Classmate is Autistic

Autism is experienced differently from one person to the next, and it can be challenging to know if a person has it or not, especially in the classroom.

Nonetheless, you can look out for certain signs and symptoms to know if your classmate is autistic.

By doing this, you can support your autistic classmate and relate with them better.

Most times, autistic people experience difficulty socializing.

They may seem indifferent to other people or prefer being alone.

In various situations, they may fail to respond to someone calling their name or other verbal pronouncements to gain attention.

Likewise, they often have trouble understanding another person's point of view or cannot predict or understand other people's actions.

Also, your classmate may be autistic if they display restrictive and repetitive behavior.

Autistic individuals often insist on repeating some routines or require certain activities to be performed in the same order each time.

In addition, some autistic persons may possess excellent memory and good moral character.

An autistic classmate may have a preference for following instructions and abiding by rules.

Read on to learn five ways to know if your classmate is autistic:

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

Winnie Siwa, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

(719) 696-3439
Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Alex Wiley, LPC

Alex Wiley, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Joel Harms, MA, LPC

(720) 449-4121

Sensory Differences 

Many autistic people are vulnerable to certain sounds, tastes, smells, and textures.

Reacting strangely to the sensory stimuli others find normal is an obvious sign that your classmate is autistic.

Also, autistic individuals can be overly active or much less physically active than their peers.

When oversensitive, their senses can feel overloaded and may lead to anxiety, pain, and meltdown.

Objects may seem bright, distorted, and appear to jump around.

In addition, if an autistic person is less physically active, they may exhibit weak sensory behavior.

They may be less sensitive to pain and unable to control or maintain their physical balance.

They may have difficulties cutting out sounds (notably background noise) which may lead to problems concentrating.

Furthermore, an autistic classmate may display unusual sensory-seeking behavior, such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving objects.

They may also display unusual sensory avoidance behaviors, including avoiding everyday sounds and textures such as clothing tags, vacuum cleaners, sand, etc.

Social Difficulties

One of the ways to know if your classmate is autistic is if they seem indifferent to other people or prefer being alone.

Many autistic people enjoy being alone. Some of them prefer eating alone and may feel uncomfortable, sick, or have meltdowns during or after eating with others.

Also, an autistic classmate may have trouble understanding another person's point of view or other people's actions.

In the classroom, it can be challenging for people with autism to tell playful teasing from bullying or to differentiate sarcasm from a statement of fact.

They also lack social filters. For instance, they may walk up to someone in the school and ask why the person is so fat.

Furthermore, autistics are less likely to look directly at another person's eyes, which suggests they are less responsive to people.

They may often talk about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or giving others a chance to respond.

In addition, it can be challenging to understand what an autistic student is saying.

Their speech may not be clear enough, or they may not appropriately express their body language.

Likewise, their facial expressions, gestures, and movements may not match their words.

Displays of Repetitive and Restrictive Behavior 

Although autistic individuals usually appear physically normal, odd repetitive behavior may set them apart from other children.

Hand flapping, lining up items, walking on toes, and repeating words or phrases indicate that your classmate is autistic.

Also, your autistic classmate may insist on repeating some routines, such as going to school at a specific time and by the same route or requiring that activities be completed in the same order each time.

When interrupted or stopped from engaging in repetitive behavior or if a change in routine is needed, they may be agitated and engage in more severe behaviors.

Similarly, autistic individuals often develop an interest in collecting certain items.

They may become attached to objects or parts, such as figurines, toys, model cars, or more unusual objects like bottle tops, shoes, or stones.

Furthermore, many autistics have intense and highly-focused interests.

It can be art, animals, cartoon characters, music, gardening, postcodes, or numbers.

For example, an autistic person might be obsessed with learning all about train schedules or vacuum cleaners.

Excellent Memory and Good Moral Character 

One of the hallmark features of knowing if your classmate is autistic is if they possess an excellent memory.

Although autistic individuals experience many challenges, they also have particular strengths and qualities.

For one, autistic people tend to be very logical, visual, and structured thinkers, which makes them enjoy the challenge of problem-solving.

Research shows that autistics are up to 40 percent faster at problem-solving than non-autistics.

Likewise, some autistic persons can learn things in detail and remember information for long periods.

They can excel in subjects that require precision and detail, such as math, science, music, or art, to name but a few.

Furthermore, an autistic person may prefer following instructions and abiding by rules.

They rely on rules and routines to keep their environment predictable and feel safer.

In addition, people with autism are sincere and reliable. They can be very conscientious and committed to their work.

Increased Likelihood of Self-Injury

Self-injurious behavior, such as hand hitting, hair pulling, or self-cutting, can show that your classmate is autistic.

Unlike other children, children with autism experience several difficulties that may cause them to develop self-harming behaviors as a coping mechanism.

You can notice self-harming behavior of an autistic child if they attend classes with injuries to certain body parts.

They may have swollen fingers or bruises on their hands due to constant hand hitting or flicking.

Likewise, pulling parts of their hair can cause significant damage to their hair health and scars on their head.

Self-harming behaviors can stem from difficulty regulating emotions.

Feelings of anger, anxiety, and confusion can be overwhelming for people with autism.

Unlike other non-autistic responses, people with autism may result to self-harm.

In addition, in a school environment where social and communication skills matter, an autistic child may find it difficult to thrive.

Their inability to communicate and blend with their peers can cause them to develop self-harming behaviors. 


Dealing with an autistic person can be exhausting, especially if you don't know how best to interact with them in social environments such as a classroom.

However, by noting autism characteristics and the difficulties autistic people experience, you can support an autistic classmate and form friendships with them.

If you want to know if your classmate is autistic, you may need to observe if they exhibit sensory differences, experience difficulty socializing, portray repetitive behavior, and possess an excellent memory.


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June 21st, 2024

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