top of page

Acerca de

Things she enjoys
Being with people
How she communicates

Neurodivergent traits - at home

It helps neurodivergent young people if you try to understand their world better. Then you can explore their needs together. 

Below is a list of some common ND traits. Everyone's different so they won’t all apply, but you might find that quite a few are familiar. 

These traits may fit with all sorts of neurodivergence, including autism, ADHD, language disorder, social communication disorder etc, or a combination of these. Some traits may be caused by other things too.


Things they enjoy

  • Has strong passions and deep knowledge about particular topics 

  • Becomes so absorbed in their interests that it can be difficult to shift their attention  

  • Is creative, with a vivid imagination 

  • Loves role-playing and pretending, and especially enjoys managing the roles of others in the game 

  • Uses repeated activities, movements or speech to relax and soothe  

  • Enjoys particular activities that activate their senses in a particular way, eg weighted blankets; blocking noise with ear defenders or listening to music; fidget toys; repeated body movements; listening to, watching, touching, eating or smelling certain things; tipping upside down; spinning; jumping or rolling around; being squeezed or pushed. 

  • Was a very young self-taught reader 

  • If they read fiction, prefers stories with clear moral messages and obvious ‘goodie’ and ‘baddie’ roles


Being with people

  • Prefers small groups of friends and one-to-one situations rather than being in a larger group 

  • Finds it hard when they see other people breaking rules or hurting others 

  • Finds it hard to know when people are being dishonest with them 

  • Often thinks the best of people and takes them on ‘face value’ 

  • Has experienced bullying or manipulative behaviour by others. Can find it difficult to know what things are appropriate to share with others. Sometimes overly open about personal things with people they don't know and can then get into risky situations as a result.

  • Finds it tricky to start conversations, and this can cause anxiety

  • Has a different awareness of personal space from others their age 

  • Tries to 'fit in' but always feels that they're different from others 

  • Follows their own style 

How they communicate

  • Finds it easier to talk to adults than to others their age 

  • Likes to talk a lot about their interests, rather than making small talk 

  • Talks about their own experiences as a way to connect with others 

  • Finds non-specific phrases confusing or irritating

  • Consciously mimics social behaviour of others to try and ‘blend in’

  • Can find it difficult to identify their feelings and describe them to others 

  • Interrupts or asks questions that seem unrelated to the current topic of conversation 

  • Enjoys word-play or puns

  • Can find slang and 'banter' difficult - it can cause misunderstandings and upset

  • Very sensitive to the emotions or needs of other people or animals, even if they are unable to put these feelings into words 

  • Communication differences can sometimes be perceived by others as just shy


Things that make them feel uncomfortable

  • Struggles with particular senses or sensations (eg bright lights, loud sounds, feeling of itchy clothing labels on skin, strong smells, internal sensations in their body etc) 

  • Really struggles when they experience a number of these particular sensations at the same time  

  • Finds it difficult or distressing looking after their personal hygiene (eg having their hair or teeth brushed, washing or showering, wearing deodorant or make up). 

  • Has differences in how they experience pain and/or temperature 

  • Finds it difficult to respond to several instructions or questions in one go, or to make a lot of decisions at once 

  • Seems unusually tired compared to others their age – particularly after a lot of sensory input 

  • Finds it difficult to socialise with new people, eg can seem ‘shy’, not say anything, or be highly extrovert

  • Finds changes of plan or situation difficult 

  • Struggles to throw things away, but can’t necessarily explain why 

  • Finds mealtimes difficult, eg wants to move around a lot, struggles with cutlery, doesn’t enjoy the sensory overload of taste, texture, noise and smell.   


When they aren't ok 

  • Has a meltdown when they're overwhelmed (eg crying, shouting, lashing out, being unable to calm down) 

  • Has a shutdown when they're overwhelmed (eg unable to communicate, needs to be alone, may need to sleep or lie down somewhere quiet) 

  • Sometimes finds it hard to even do the things that they enjoy, or which seem like very basic tasks  

  • Finds it harder to communicate when they are anxious  

  • Appears more tired or clumsy than usual 

  • Complains of physical discomfort because of anxiety, eg tummy or head aches, feeling sick, joint ache and other pain 

Self-identity and expressing their own needs


  • Finds it difficult to ask for help or clarification 

  • Has low self-esteem 

  • Puts other people’s needs ahead of their own  

  • Finds it difficult to describe themselves to others, beyond physical appearance 

  • Can find it important to spend the time making her appearance just right for them, eg eyebrows etc, because it might be one of their intense interests or her desire to fit in. This can interfere with getting to places at times

  • May identify as gender diverse 


Family life

  • Has a very strong focus on the relationship with their primary care-giver and can find it hard to separate from them

  • Has difficulties with sleep 


Health history


  • Has a history of mental health difficulties (eg anxiety, depression, restricted eating, OCD, self-harm, suicidal thoughts) 

  • Has had a combination of these physical health issues: digestive, joint pain, hypermobility, walking on toes, frequent ear infections, abdominal pain, reflux, bowel inflammation, constipation, bladder issues, toileting difficulties. 

  • Has any other neurodivergence alongside autism (eg ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, Tourette’s). 

  • Has blood relatives who are neurodivergent 


What next?

Please note, this list is not for making a diagnosis, and is not intended to represent the experiences of all neurodivergent young people. 

Things that make her feel uncomfortable
When she's not ok
Family life
Health history
bottom of page