An Aspergers checklist can be very useful in determining spectrum disorders at any age, but particularly when diagnosing Aspergers in adults.
Autism spectrum disorders are usually diagnosed in childhood, but quite often, cases that fall within the scope of Aspergers Syndrome slip through the net. Diagnosing Aspergers in adults can be particularly difficult, especially as they are often just seen as "set in their ways" or "socially awkward" by their friends and family.
However, diagnosis is important, as with it comes greater understanding about why the patient is like they are, and coping strategies can be developed to make sense of a world that can often be confusing at best, and hostile at worst.
People with Aspergers Syndrome can find social situations very difficult and confusing. They may want to interact with others, but find themselves having inappropriate reactions to what is being said. Often, facial expressions and social cues, such as invading personal space are lost on them.
It is common for many adults with Aspergers Syndrome to find eye contact difficult, although others may maintain eye contact for an inappropriately long time. Subtext in conversation is frequently lost, and word meanings are usually taken literally. Sarcasm or humour is usually missed for this reason. A common indicator is the difficulty with which an adult Aspergers sufferer might have with answering a question; experience has taught them that they are "different" than others when in social situations, and they may hesitate noticeably, or even appear to stick to a "script" when responding.
There is often a level of motor-skills impairment in adults with Aspergers. Quite often, they were classed as simply being "bad at games" at school, with difficulty in co-ordination, often indicated by inability to learn to ride a bike, frequent falls when running, or difficulties in catching or hitting balls.
Aside from finding social cues difficult to interpret, someone with Aspergers Syndrome may also find it hard to solve or understand issues outside of their personal experience. Imaginative problem-solving is difficult, and learning is frequently aided by the use of visual material, which can help to make abstract concepts more literal and therefore easier to understand.
An indicator for possible Aspergers Syndrome in children can be repeated movements, or play that incorporates an almost ritualistic set of actions from the child. In adults, this can often translate in obsessive behaviours or routines, with little diversion or interest outside of these. For example, an adult with Aspergers might be unusually invested in a hobby or interest, and may deal with disruptions to routine with noticeable tics or "stimming".
Although a frequent indicator of other conditions, such as chronic pain disorders, migraine, or anxiety, hypersensitivity, particularly to light, sound, and touch can also suggest Aspergers Syndrome in adults.
No Aspergers checklist can ever be totally comprehensive, as Aspergers in adults in particular can be informed by learned behaviours to allow the person to "fit in". However, if many of the above indicators are exhibited, it is possible that they may receive a diagnosis.