Could my adult sister be on the spectrum? (New here)

My sister is 24 years old, living by herself (with monetary support from my parents) in NYC and working on a masters degree. However, I wonder if she may be autistic. She has ADD, but I feel there is more that has not been discovered.

She has been socially isolated since middle school or so. Since then, at any given time, she will have about 3 friends. She has more friends in college, but they have mostly been roommates that she was placed with. She has never dated or shown interest in a guy, but often talks about getting married and having children.

She will often be looking out of the corner of her eyes or tilting her head as if she's uncomfortable/ unsure of her surroundings. When she walks, she looks at the ground. It also seems she has trouble putting herself in the shoes of others and in conversation it's not uncommon for her to misunderstand the main point. Many times when she is speaking she will repeat portions of sentences 3 or 4 times. In regular activity she constantly makes a grunting type noise (it sounds like she's whispering "huh") . Something that also stands out to me is her obsession with celebrities and TV shows. She really loves Broadways plays and the show Big Brother. She even meets a lot of Broadway actors and people from BB. After meeting these people, she considers them friends and talks about them as such, I think often mistaking their friendliness and appreciation for friendship.

In general, my sister seems to be naive. She will laugh or joke at inappropriate times and acts like a child at times. But she leads a normal life and works part time as a nanny. Sometimes I don't know if she's acting like that because she around family, or if it's just who she is around everyone. Many of her behaviors seem similar to that of those with Aspergers. They could just be quirks though. I really have no background in this, but would really like to get a better idea. My parents notice her behaviors but either ignore them or chalk it up to immaturity. It frustrates me because I want her to have the best life possible, and I feel like knowing this would somehow help.

2 Replies

  • Hi tori530,

    Autism often occurs alongside other psychological disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Tourettes, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Dispraxia. This is called comorbidity and is quite common from what I have read. So it's entirely possible that you sister has a comorbid condition that could be autism.

    From what you have described it seems like she has a more than a few autistic traits but obviously you would need to speak to a professional about this and also get your sister involved in the process. How would she feel about that? Have you ever discussed the subject of autism with her?

    My son is autistic and I'm pretty sure that I'm on the border of the spectrum. That knowledge has helped me accept some of my "weirdness" as something that I have no control over and that's quite comforting to me. However I know some people, who, in my opinion, are nailed on, dead-cert "Aspies", who would be appalled to be told that. I know you have your sister's interests at heart but please ask yourself how would she would react if you broached the subject of her being autistic.

    You mention that she leads a normal life (and it sounds a pretty good one!) so if it isn't affecting her too much then maybe it isn't a problem? I live in England and know that London is the capital of quirkiness; I assume NYC is the same and she may fit in pretty well?

    Anyway, that's my take on the situation, hope it helps. The autistic part of me never quite knows if I sound like I'm trying to be helpful or offensive!

  • The answer is YES that's a 100% positive. My two sons have Asbergers , one has ADD as well.

    I have ADD and basically it's going from one thing to another not completing a thing .

    Suggest you have a look on this site. There are some excellent articles about women and misdiagnosis,


    Good Luck. xx

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