I thought it might be a good idea, for people who are looking for some advice, to explore the difference between being shy and being autistic.
There may be some individuals who suspect that they might be somewhere on the spectrum because they have difficulties with socialising and are not clear about the real differences between simply being timid and having autistic traits.
What are the key differences between someone who feels shy around groups of people and autistic people who have communication issues? How can you tell the difference?
Personally I do not believe there is such a things as 'autistic traits'.
You either have autism or you don't.
Autism is a medical diagnosis which consists of a cluster of behaviours.
It is all or nothing, the emphasis is on the word cluster.
The word spectrum refers to differences within the cluster.
There are also many different official definitions of Autism and Aspergers which have different cluster profiles. Plus they have been changing throughout history.
The concept of autism is a language and categorical construct that is imprecise and constantly shifting and experts disagree.
A person under one autistic frame of reference may not be autistic under another all of which are in current use around the world.
There is no biological test for autism and it is a subjective judgement based on usually very little information gathered in a very small time window.
It's fundamental emphasis has always been focussed primarily on very young children who are not socially adapted and adjusted and who display severe challenging behaviours where it is a medical diagnosis with the purpose of providing special support for special needs. Children who clearly display severe impairments and disruptions to average development as witnessed in their peers.
Autism is not a fashionable personality and lifestyle definition.
Poor eye contact is not an autistic trait, it is poor eye contact and that is all it is.
On it's own poor eye contact is poor eye contact.
Shyness on its own is shyness, nothing else, not an autistic trait.
It takes an entire cluster of factors to make the package called autism.
And it is not a question of shyness or autism; this is a word game.
Humans are diverse and have many different personalities.
Shy people are not autistic.
Introverts are not autistic.
People need to stop trying to self diagnose and look for fashionable labels.
It seems to me autism is becoming such a fashionable label.
Every single neuro-typical person on this planet has some form of communication issue at some point in some context. Nobody is perfect in social conduct. NT people have endless social and communication problems. The whole world does not have autism or autistic traits.
This whole business of what is autism is a language problem and a semantic problem, a problem of the shared meaning of words. It becomes a matter of autism is in the eye of the beholder.
By asking what is the difference between shyness and autism you are creating a semantic controversy where it is no longer a medical diagnostic question but a question of the use of language and meaning.
If someone wants to believe they are autistic then they are autistic. A medical professional may or may not agree. Some lay people may or may not agree.
It then becomes a matter of social consensus whether a particular person is autistic or not.
Shyness cannot be mathematically defined nor measured numerically.
A working class extrovert will feel socially anxious and shy in the company of high society.
Should every shy socially anxious introvert run to their GP for an assessment for Autism ?
Not every lonely isolated person has Autism.
Low self esteem and low self confidence are not autistic traits because their is no such thing as an autistic trait in isolation; unless you want to believe there is, then there is.