Oct. 23, 2008 -- Question: What are some "red flags" that might signal a need to evaluate the possibility of an autism spectrum disorder in a teenager?
Answer: When we first see a teenager with a question of autism or Asperger syndrome, typically these individuals are higher-functioning, they have pretty good language skills, but their interests tend to be very narrow. They focus on specific topics, they may have a great deal of factual information, be able to memorize things, but have difficulty knowing what's important and why things occur the way they do.
They often have lots of difficulty in making and keeping friends. Some individuals will prefer to be alone, while others will want to have friends, but they have difficulty understanding social graces and social cues. And so, they may have difficulty understanding why another person would want to do an activity that they're not interested in and they may difficulty understanding when they're being annoying to another individual -- that sort of thing.