I recently attended a seminar on the topic of the personality disorders. One such personality disorder is called schizotypal personality disorder. Read the description and you will see that there is a tremendous amount of cross-over with the symptoms and traits of the autism spectrum disorders.
There is a good deal of controversy at this time as to whether or not the two diagnoses are actually separate entities or the same syndrome. One possible distinguishing characteristic may be the age of onset of symptoms. Schozotypal PD can only be diagnosed in adulthood whereas Asperger’s disorder, or autism spectrum disorders, can be diagnosed in early childhood and even as early as infancy.
There may be prodromal signs of schizotypal personality disorder in childhood but it cannot be diagnosed until after the age of 18, by definition. If a person did not have symptoms of the autism spectrum of disorders or schizotypal PD before adolescence, it is most likely that he does not have autism and has Schizotypal PD instead. Also, people with schizotypal PD have magical thinking such as grandiosity, paranoia, and delusions much like schizophrenia.
They may also have family members with diagnosed schizophrenia. Can someone have both schiotypal and autism. Possibly but not enough data are there to support it. The jury is out on this mysterious syndrome and its relationship to autism.
—- Barbara J Nichols, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist.