Other Signs Of Autism
You may also have other signs, like:
- not understanding social “rules”, such as not talking over people
- avoiding eye contact
- getting too close to other people, or getting very upset if someone touches or gets too close to you
- noticing small details, patterns, smells or sounds that others do not
- having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
- liking to plan things carefully before doing them
Asd: A Difficult Condition To Diagnose
Diagnosing ASD can be difficult because of its prevalence. Any qualified professional with the necessary credentials and expertise may diagnose the condition. Professionals such as social workers , masters level psychologists , and other mental health professionals are also available to assist. A mental health diagnosis is not necessarily determined by a psychological test. An examination by a doctor who asks questions and evaluates your responses is the most effective way to be diagnosed with ASD. They will consider self-reports as well. When assessing adults, psychologists frequently use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition . This diagnostic test can be used to determine how much social communication, repetitive behavior, and restricted interests and activities an individual has.
How Does Autism Affect Daily Life
Those who have been diagnosed with ASD may often find that the world wasnt really created with their needs, strengths or challenges in mind, as Kaye-OConnor puts it.
We live in a world that was largely created to center around neurotypical needs, she says. This means that those with autism can frequently come across a lack of acceptance and major sensory hurdles.
Sensory concerns can also be a big challenge for autistic people of any age, and it can be so incredibly helpful to have an understanding of our unique sensory profiles so we can then accommodate our sensory needs, Kaye-OConnor says. What are the sensory adaptations and accommodations we need to do well at school, at work, at home, and out in the community?
Since autism falls along a spectrum, so too does the impact on ones function, Dr. Lobel says, adding that depending on the severity, the capacity to live a fully independent life can be hindered.
Adults may need varying levels of support including, but not limited to, workplace accommodations and/or some assistance to manage finances, grocery shopping and laundry, Dr. Lobel says.
On the other hand, Kaye-OConnor notes that autism can bring about some really wonderful strengths and gifts.
At the end of the day, Dr. Lobel stresses that having a diagnosis of autism, even during adulthood, is not a foregone conclusion of gloom and doom.
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Can You Get Adhd As An Adult
The short answer is, no, adults dont suddenly get ADHD. In order to meet the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis, several symptoms that cause impairment must be present in childhood. Specifically, signs of ADHD need to be evident before age 12. This means, technically, ADHD does not develop in adulthood.
In other words, if you have ADHD as an adult, you also had it as a child. As a result, someone may not be diagnosed with the disorder until later in life. Conversely, if you definitely did not present with these symptoms as a child, then your current symptoms may be the result of something else, such as depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder.
ADHD is sometimes hard to diagnose, as symptoms can present quite differently from person to person and it is diagnosed largely through observation rather than with more concrete means, such as a blood test or other physical markers.
As an adult seeking diagnosis, its possible that no one knew to look for ADHD, and you might have had it all along. ADHD symptoms can also manifest in different ways as a person ages. For example, in younger children, hyperactivity may present as an inability to sit still, while adults may simply seem restless.
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Strict Adherence To A Routine
Autism spectrum disorder can manifest in a strict dependence on daily routines.
Individuals living with autism may become angry or upset when any detail of their daywhether it be a misplaced item or canceled activityis changed.
Stringent routines have some overlap with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder tendencies, though ASD and OCD are two separate things.
Research is still ongoing on the overlap between the two disorders, but its thought that 17% of individuals living with ASD also have OCD.
A significant difference between ASD and OCD tendencies is that people suffering from OCD have a need to do a specific task, whereas people with autism spectrum disorder are more soothed by repetition than the specific task.
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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.
Common Signs Of Autism In Adults Include:
- finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling
- getting very anxious about social situations
- finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own
- seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to
- finding it hard to say how you feel
- taking things very literally for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like break a leg
- having the same routine every day and getting very anxious if it changes
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What To Do If You Suspect You’re Living With Adult Autism
The symptoms of ASD listed above are not an exhaustive list, and an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis must be made by a licensed medical professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
For some adults, an ASD diagnosis can provide comfort, relief, and a clearer path forward. You may also want to speak with a therapist who specializes in autism spectrum disorder.
While autism spectrum disorder is a life-long condition, some therapeutic treatmentsincluding applied behavioral analysis, cognitive behavioral therapy , and certain medicationscan help manage symptoms.
A New Understanding Of Asd
After reading and researching ASD and feeling certain this information describes yourself, you may experience an identity shift towards one that is autistic. Reflecting back on moments in your life, you may view things that happened in a different context, through the lens of autism. Retelling the story of your life may now have the ASD perspective. Remembering your stories, reflecting on them, and receiving feedback will change your narrative. This process of self-discovery helps to make sense of whats happened in your life how having ASD has shaped the way you think, react and feel. Maybe some of the confusion is gone, you understand yourself better, and in time you can share this discovery with people you trust.
This new identity may also cause feelings of loss, resentment or anger. Its OK to feel this way as this is a life changing event and it can feel overwhelming. Try to think about the positive things such as your strengths. People continue to grow, change and adapt throughout their lifespan. You can learn new skills and find new ways to do things that may make life easier and more comfortable.
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How The Development Of Autism Works
If it is not possible for a teenager or an adult to develop autism, how does autism actually develop? A 2014 report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that brain changes that take place long before birth might be what causes the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Looking at the brains of children with autism and those without, scientists discovered abnormalities in the brain regions that control language, social, and emotional control in 90% of the children with autism. And the abnormalities themselves were formed as the result of a process occurring long before birth.
In terms of timing, these changes occur in the cortex around the second trimester of pregnancy. Speaking to NPR, one of the authors of the study explained that something must have gone wrong at or before the second trimester.
Commenting on the study, the director of the National Autistic Society Centre for Autism in the United Kingdom stressed the importance of early detection. This is primarily because the earlier the intervention, the easier it will be for patients, parents, and therapists to compensate for the problematic developments in the brain.
Secondarily, it is for fear that undetected cases of autism will lead to more misconceptions that the disability develops as some people age. This misconception will affect how these people are treated.
How Medical Professionals Diagnose Adult Asd
If you start with your primary care physician, theyll review your concerns and refer you to a specialist. This specialist will then perform a thorough evaluation that includes behavior checklists, symptom self-reporting, and direct observations.
Theyll also speak with your parents, siblings, and significant other to gain a holistic picture of your lifelong behavior patterns. Once the evaluation is complete, youll meet with the specialist to review your results and explore treatment options.
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Level 2 Autism: Requiring Substantial Support
With level 2 autism, communication skills are more limited. People with level 2 autism speak in shorter sentences, have difficulty with change that causes significant interference, and display atypical nonverbal cues. Their repetitive behaviors are more noticeable. Daily distress and issues with redirecting focus makes it harder for level 2 autistic people to lead independent lives.
Articles On Autism Diagnosis
Autism spectrum disorder is usually diagnosed in young children. But what if you think you may be on the spectrum, and it never got diagnosed?
Parents of very young children are on the lookout for classic symptoms like lack of eye contact, repetitive movements, and sensory issues. And all kids are screened for these signs at their 18- and 24-month pediatrician well-child visits, so most cases of autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed by age 2.
That wasnât always the case. Not too long ago, some kids who would be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder today might have been labeled as âdifficultâ or âlearning disabled,â and may not have gotten the help they needed.
Now, those children are adults and they or their family members may wonder if they might have ASD.
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Can Dogs Have High Functioning Autism
It is possible for dogs to have high-functioning autism, or a form of ASD that does not affect their cognitive abilities. Like with humans, the symptoms and severity of autism in dogs can vary widely from case to case.
Some common signs of high-functioning autism in dogs include social withdrawal, unresponsiveness to people and surroundings, and hyperactivity or destructive behaviors. However, dogs with high-functioning autism may also exhibit normal communication and social behaviors at times, making it difficult to determine whether they have ASD or not.
Is An Autism Diagnosis Covered By Insurance
Although ASD evaluations are increasingly recognized as medical necessities, insurance coverage often differs among providers. Check with your insurance provider to see what they will cover.
The bottom line: ASD can manifest differently and is often a life-long condition, but early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference.
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How To Identify Autism Spectrum Disorder In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder, also known as autism or ASD, is becoming increasingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1% of the world or 75,000,000 people have ASD. Even more surprising, an estimated 5.4 million U.S. adults have ASD. That number may seem large, but ASD features a wide range of symptoms and levels of severity.
“Autism spectrum disorder occurs in all age, racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups,” says Lisa Neitzke, PhD, BCBA, Nebraska Medicine licensed psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at UNMC/Munroe-Meyer Institute. “While not everyone is diagnosed at an early age, early detection is key to improving outcomes later in life.”
Below, we outline five common questions about ASD in adults.
How Is Asd Diagnosed
ASD symptoms can vary greatly from person to person depending on the severity of the disorder. Symptoms may even go unrecognized for young children who have mild ASD or less debilitating handicaps.
Autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed by clinicians based on symptoms, signs, and testing according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V, a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders. Children should be screened for developmental delays during periodic checkups and specifically for autism at 18- and 24-month well-child visits.
Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- excessive lining up of toys or objects
- no smiling or social responsiveness
Later indicators include:
- impaired ability to make friends with peers
- impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
- absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
- repetitive or unusual use of language
- abnormally intense or focused interest
- preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
- inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
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Autism And Understanding The Emotions Of Other People
An autistic person may find it hard to understand the emotions of other people. Emotions are interpreted by subtle messages sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language. These are often missed or misinterpreted by an autistic person. Because of this, autistic people might be mistakenly perceived as being rude or unfeeling. Autistic people may find it difficult to understand how others perceive their behaviour.
Theres Still No Simple Method To Diagnose Adult Asd
While methods have been developed to diagnose children with ASD , there is surprisingly still no standard way to diagnose an adult.
At this stage, diagnosis is often reached through a range of tests and interviews which look at a persons intellectual functioning, social adaptability, communication skills, and a childhood history of ASD traits.
This means that diagnosis as an adult can be challenging.
For example, it can be pretty difficult to remember details from your childhood that would provide clues to ASD and parents are often not around to help fill in the blanks.
Many adults have also developed strategies to compensate for or cover up their traits, so it can be difficult for an interviewer to note certain behaviours.
Plus, autism often presents quite similarly to other disorders . This means it is often quite hard to define which experiences and symptoms may relate to ASD.
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Have An Autism Assessment
An autism assessment is where a team of autism specialists check if you or your child are autistic.
An assessment team may:
- ask about any problems you or your child are having
- watch how you or your child interact with other people
- speak to people who know you or your child well, such as family, friends, your GP or your childâs teachers
At the end of the assessment, youâll be given a report saying if you or your child are autistic.
Can You Develop Aspergers Syndrome Later In Life
Aspergers syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder. This means the behaviors we associate with Aspergers are present at the earliest stages of life. For the most part, they are caused by problems in the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system. By definition then, the symptoms of Aspergers must be present from birth or at least observable before the age of three.
Older children, teenagers, and adults do not acquire Aspergers because developing Aspergers in adulthood is not possible.
It is often the case that the characteristics of Aspergers are not noticed until after three years of age or even much later, but it is still not possible for those characteristics to develop later in life and be considered Aspergers.
In other words, if social, communicative or behavioral problems have arisen later in someones life, they do not have to do with Aspergers. There is no such thing as acquired Aspergers.
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The Costs Of Pretending In Public
Researchers from that 2016 study found that all this constant camouflaging often comes with costs, like exhaustion, increased stress, meltdowns due to social overload, anxiety, depression, and even a negative impact on the development of ones identity.
I find the last part interesting. I think all the other costs read similar to those warnings listed on new and miraculous medications you see advertised on television .
I dont necessarily think all my camouflaging has had a negative impact on my identity development, but I do know that much of my teenage journaling was peppered with the phrase, All I ever wanted was to be real.
I never thought about why I used the phrase so often. But looking back, I think it was just my way of coming to terms with that fact that I wasnt like anyof my friends. For a long while, I thought they were more real, more authentic, than I was.
Scientists now know that some autistic people actually feel more emotions than regular people. We are, in many ways, more in tune with the nuances and ups and downs of the psyches of those around us.
I think thats true. One of my skills has always been the ability to see things from multiple perspectives. I can step out of myself and see where another person is coming from. And I can sense what theyre feeling.
So, yes, Im all right with altering my behavior to keep them from being uncomfortable. If theyre comfortable, I sense that too, and then were both more comfortable.