But Arent Autistic People Often Anxious Depressed And Powerless
People who have many autistic traits, sometimes referred to as the BAP, are assumed to have many characteristics in common with those who have autism . And we should not forget that much more often than other people, autistic people have various psychiatric problems, such as anxiety which also appears to be the case in those who simply have many autistic traits .
Anxiety, especially if frequent and severe, can make it difficult to function well in any job. Difficulties can be overcome, however, and a number of people have performed well in powerful positions while battling angst and apprehension three examples being British prime ministers Stanley Baldwin , Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan . Hence it does not seem that being anxious rules out gaining and sustaining power nor, apparently, does having depression, which may be more common among the powerful than anxiety . There is some evidence, even, that tending toward depression need not be a disadvantage to one who wants power, and could even be an asset, especially if paired with periods of elevated mood . Let us look a little closer, then, at the relations among autism, power, and fear, which have some intriguing aspects.
We saw above that Harold Macmillan had nervous breakdowns and recurrent depressions . Yet as a soldier in World War I, he showed conspicuous bravery . Later, himself wounded in a plane crash, Macmillan risked his life to save another man .
A Preference For Alternate Forms Of Communication
Autistic people prefer to communicate in ways that best make sense to them. These are not always the same ways an individual without autism does. They may not always understand the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication others tend to use. They may not pick up on all the other nuances that come with communication. This is one of the most common autistic characteristics in adults.
People with autism spectrum disorders tend to have difficulty comprehending things like:
- facial expressions
These traits of autism in adults can cause misunderstandings depending on the level of the persons autism. An autistic person might choose to use things like sign language or visuals to communicate. These methods are very simple and straightforward. Taking the time to explain things clearly and understand their preferred way of speaking can bridge the communication gap.
describes the ways people communicate without, or in addition to, speech. Those with autism can benefit from using AAC methods such as specific communication devices.
Speech Pathology Graduate Programs has a great article, which lists their top 10 recommended AAC devices such as the:
Support services like speech therapy can work wonders with autistic adults.
These are wonderful tips for those who may be interacting and communicating with autistic adults.
Success In Autistic Adults
Some adults with diagnosed autism are moderately to highly successful people. Some are happily married and partnered, and many are fully employed.
Some have even become role models for young adults on the spectrum who hope to live full, independent lives. Just a few such role models include:
- Temple Grandin, animal husbandry expert, author, and public speaker
- Stephen Shore, author, musician, professor, public speaker
- John Elder Robison, author, and public speaker
- Dan Ackroyd, actor, singer, radio personality
- Daryl Hannah, actor
These individuals, in addition to some others, are active autism advocates. Many speak publicly about their experiences and offer resources and insights to autistic adults and their family members.
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Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others by 15 months of age
- Does not point to show you something interesting by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or upset by 24 months of age
- Does not notice other children and join them in play by 36 months of age
- Does not pretend to be something else, like a teacher or superhero, during play by 48 months of age
- Does not sing, dance, or act for you by 60 months of age
Restrictive And Repetitive Behaviors
- You have trouble regulating your emotions and your responses to them.
- Changes in routines and expectations cause strong feelings that may include outbursts or meltdowns.
- When something unexpected happens, you respond with an emotional meltdown.
- You get upset when your things are moved or rearranged.
- You have rigid routines, schedules, and daily patterns that must be maintained no matter what.
- You have repetitive behaviors and rituals.
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Differences In Gender And Sexuality Identification
Sexuality is often discussed within the autistic community, with many observations that identities other than cis–hetero seem to be more common than is observed in the neurotypical population. There have not been many formal studies on this to date, however members of the community speculate that autistic individuals generally have different ideals, perceptions and desires than neurotypicals or simply do not comprehend or agree with society’s expectation, making them more apt to diverge from the norm.
A study looking at the co-occurrence of ASD in patients with gender dysphoria found 7.8% of patients to be on the autism spectrum. Another study consisting of online surveys that included those who identified as nonbinary and those identifying as transgender without diagnoses of gender dysphoria found the number to be as high as 24% of gender diverse people having autism, versus around 5% of the surveyed cisgender people. A possible hypothesis for the correlation may be that autistic people are less able to conform to societal norms, which may explain the high number of autistic individuals who identify outside the stereotypical gender binary. As of yet, there have been no studies specifically addressing the occurrence of autism in intersex individuals.
Signs Of High Functioning Autism In Adults
Estimates show that at least 5 million adults in the United States live with an autism spectrum disorder. This developmental condition can affect a whole range of social skills.
However, not everyone living with autism receives a diagnosis. This can have a serious impact on your quality of life and mental health. Recognizing the signs of high functioning autism ensures that you get the help and support that you need.
So how might high functioning autism be affecting you? Read on to find out some common autism symptoms in adults and teenagers.
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Testosterone As A Common Cause
It may well be important that autistic and powerful people seem to share many traits. Yet this remains a correlation. A stronger test of the claim that powerful people have more traits that can really be called autistic, would be to look for a common mechanism causing the shared traits. Interestingly, one appears to exist.
All humans produce testosterone , but in different amounts depending on sex, individual differences, and possible diseases . Significant quantities of T originate in the testes, with the ovaries and adrenal glands as other sources , while a preponderance of the brains relevant receptors can be found in a subset of hypothalamic neurons .
T helps shape thinking, feeling, and behavior in specific ways. This takes place in concert with other hormones and neurotransmitters, but Ts role is important. Indeed, van Honk et al. argue that the social brains main chemical, without exaggeration, is testosterone. Ones current stage of development helps determine testosterone levels , as do life events, such as social success or defeat .
Restricted Or Repetitive Behaviors Or Interests
People with ASD have behaviors or interests that can seem unusual. These behaviors or interests set ASD apart from conditions defined by problems with social communication and interaction only.
Examples of restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests related to ASD can include
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
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Child With Autism=adult With Autism
Despite stories you may have read on the Internet, it is incredibly rare for a child accurately diagnosed with autism to become an adult who is no longer diagnosable.
Yes, children with autism may build skills and workarounds that make autism less obvious. Yes, teens with autism may learn social skills and be able to “pass” in some situations. But no, a child with autism won’t just get over their autism to become a neurotypical adult.
How Does Asd Affect A Teen
Since autism limits a persons ability to communicate, teens with ASD may have trouble fitting in and making friends. Because they may have unusual behaviors and poor social skills they may be teased and left out of social activities. Sometimes they really have no interest in other kids and would rather be alone, but other times they wish they could make friends and just dont know how. This can make them feel lonely. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with ASD, its important to let them know they are not alone. If you have ASD and feel sad, unhappy or lonely, talk to a parent, health care provider or another trusted adult and let them know how you are feeling. There are many people who can help you.
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We Never Do Anything Spontaneous He Gets Anxious When Plans Change
People on the spectrum love information. They love routines. They love being able to predict what happens next. Since there is no internal dialogue helping them read social cues for answers, they rely on facts and prompts from others to make sure they have control of the situation. My client once planned a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend which he walked out of immediately upon arrival. If your partner suffers from autism, surprises might cause him more duress than excitement. Spontaneity is usually something partners must give up in order to maintain peace in their relationship.
You Want To Rescue Him
Once youve found out what he is really like, do you have the urge to change him? This happens to many women with an Autism Spectrum Disorder partner, and understandably so. Having invested so much in him and your relationship, you dont want to give up on him. Its easy to imagine that with some effort on his part, and a lot on yours, he will change.
This is a powerful motivation when dissatisfactions appear, especially for women who are capable socially and emotionally. Its easy for such women to believe they can change their partner, even in spite of all theyve read to the contrary.
Be careful. It is entirely possible for the man you love to grow, change and adapt to your needs but it is not easy. Change is hard. It takes lots of time and effort, and there are no guarantees of success. You also risk setting yourself up to try and love him not for who he is but for what you want him to be.
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Can Asd Be Prevented
Unfortunately, this is something that researchers dont know right now. However, with the right treatment that includes social, speech and language, motor, and cognitive therapies, a person with ASD can learn skills that help them improve their quality of life and contribute more effectively in the community.
Support For Adults With Autism
Adults arent generally given the same support as children with ASD. Sometimes adults with ASD may be treated with cognitive, verbal, and applied behavioral therapy.
Note that certain therapies such as applied behavioral analysis are controversial in autistic communities. Some advocacy groups such as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network do not support the use of ABA.
In general, youll want to seek out specific support based on the impacts youre experiencing. This might include anxiety, social isolation, relationship problems, or job difficulties.
Some possibilities include:
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Autism Signs And Symptoms Checklist For Adults
I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.
If youre here, you probably found this post on Google looking for Signs of autism in adults. If youre wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope youll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why Ive always felt different. I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.
In the meantime, if youve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.
Varied Availability Of Services
Adults with autism are often legally entitled to nothing, but are likely to receive at least some level of support. If you live in some states, you’ll have little trouble accessing services and funding for adults with autism. But if you live in other states, you may find that there is limited support.
Some states that offer the least generous programs and services include:
Among the more generous states are:
Of course, the definition of “services and funding” varies depending upon need. For example, Medicaid doesn’t provide vocational training or supportservices that would be particularly useful to higher functioning adults.
Medicaid may or may not be a source of funding for housing, day programs, and other services.
One excellent, updated source of information about state-by-state offerings is Easterseals. While they do focus quite a bit on children, they also include a wide range of detailed information about resources and services for all ages.
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What Does High Functioning Mean
So, what does it mean if you are autistic and “high functioning?” It depends. Typically, if someone is diagnosed with ASD: Level 1, they are considered “high functioning.” However, someone’s social skills might be Level 1, and their behavioral issues might be Level 2.
Furthermore, although autism is a lifelong diagnosis that an individual does not “grow out of,” an individual might experience autistic burnout, a condition that causes increased functional deficits.
Factors that contribute to labeling an autistic person as “high-functioning” include how well they are able to hold a job, form and maintain relationships, communicate, and mask their autistic traits. Essentially, the better someone can blend in with a neurotypical society, the higher functioning they are. Because of this, many high functioning autistic people do not get diagnosed until later in life.
He Never Tells Me He Loves Me
Many individuals on the spectrum do not approach romance in a neurotypical way. If he has told you at one point that he loves you he may not feel the need to articulate this again unless his feeling have changed. For partners who are not on the spectrum, they often view verbal and romantic reassurance as a necessity in a relationship, while individuals on the spectrum view excessive validation as unnecessary since they believe that love should be measured in actions rather than words .
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Social Communication / Interaction Behaviors May Include:
- Making little or inconsistent eye contact
- Appearing not to look at or listen to people who are talking
- Infrequently sharing interest, emotion, or enjoyment of objects or activities
- Not responding or being slow to respond to ones name or to other verbal bids for attention
- Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
- Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond
- Displaying facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said
- Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like
- Having trouble understanding another persons point of view or being unable to predict or understand other peoples actions
- Difficulties adjusting behaviors to social situations
- Difficulties sharing in imaginative play or in making friends
Autistic Traits In Women
When boys and girls have similar autistic traits, males get diagnosed, but females often do not. Females tend to get diagnosed only when their autistic traits are significantly and visibly debilitating. Clinicians are missing many girls who are on the less disabling end of the autism spectrum, which was previously designated Aspergers syndrome .ICD-10-CM Code F84.5 | ICD.Codes
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