"Everyone is somewhere on the spectrum or a little bit autistic"
These are commonly voiced perceptions, but it is important to recognise that some traits associated with autism may exist on a continuum. In other words, certain behaviours or characteristics that are more common in individuals with autism can also be found, to varying degrees, in the broader neurotypical population.
These traits are not exclusive to autism and can be present in individuals who do not have, or would not reach the threshold for, a diagnosis of Autism.
There are some neurotypical individuals who may experience challenges in social interactions or prefer solitude. Others might demonstrate some level of repetitive behaviour or adherence to routines. But, on its own, it doesn’t mean that they may need an assessment for autism.
There are also several reasons for an individuals demonstrating sensory sensitivity and these are not exclusively a sign of an individual being autistic.
It's essential to remember that having some isolated traits associated with autism does not mean a person is autistic. An Autism diagnosis is diagnosed based on a comprehensive assessment of multiple criteria, and individuals who meet the diagnostic criteria have a unique set of challenges that significantly impact their daily functioning.
It is important that society accepts that diversity in cognitive and behavioural traits is a natural part of human variation, and everyone has their own unique combination of strengths and challenges. However, only having one or two traits, or similar challenges to autistic people, doesn't mean you are actually autistic.