The high rate of anxiety disorders among people on the autism spectrum may be due in part to the issues that people with autism spectrum conditions have to contend with in being part of the ‘neurotypical’ world. On a daily basis, autistic people have to make sense of a world that is extremely hard to decipher, deal with sensory overload (and worry about potential sensory overload), and navigate an often hostile and incomprehensible social world. All of these experiences can contribute significantly to a person’s anxiety levels. In addition, the autistic traits of perfectionism, preference for structure/routine and repetitive behaviours can all add to the levels of anxiety.
In trying to make sense of the world, people with autism often want to imagine the outcomes of events or situations that involve them. This may start from the position of trying to make the world less stressful by creating a picture or map of the future so that change or new experiences don’t seem quite so daunting.
Or by creating lists. Lots of lists.