The Stress Of Living With Autism Is Exhausting
You cant entirely separate my incredibly privileged and lucky autistic ass from these devastating statistics. Autistic adults who dont have a learning disability, like me, are still nine times more likely to die from suicide than our non-autistic peers. Autistica, a UK charity, explores some of the complex reasons that might be behind this alarmingly high suicide rate in a report on the urgent need for a national response to early death in autism. Or you can just take a look at my own laundry list of issues to get the general idea:
Im tired all the time. The coping mechanisms that I developed as a bullied and undiagnosed child from learning to mimic the behaviors of people who are more naturally likable than me to holding entire conversations where I reveal nothing about myself for fear of being too enthusiastic, too annoying, too overbearing, or simply too much are not great for managing a remotely healthy life or building self-esteem. The effort it takes to fit in is increasingly exhausting as I get older.
All that hard work to make other people more comfortable around me feels more and more pointless. I appreciate that I have people in my life who have assured me that I can just be myself, but unlearning almost 36 years of shitty coping mechanisms and performances also takes a buttload of work. My sleeping patterns, due to anxiety and possibly to autism itself, are erratic at best.
Mitochondrial Disease And Autism
Mitochondria are cellular components that turn sugar into energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction interferes with proper cell functioning within various systems of the body, including the brain. In the Federal court case of Hannah Poling, mitochondrial disease was found to be the underlying condition that led to autism after she received double doses of the MMR vaccine. It is important to note that not every case of mitochondrial dysfunction manifests as autism, and not every person with autism has disease in the mitochondria.
Top 10 Facts About Adult Autism
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
People with autism, like everyone else, are adults for much longer than they are kids. That’s an easy fact to overlook when you search online for information about autism, because most articles and images focus on young children.
While it’s true that symptoms of autism appear first in early childhood, autism is not a pediatric disorder. Adults with autism face lifelong challenges.
So why is relatively little written about autism and adulthood? While there’s no absolute answer, here are some educated guesses:
- Autism manifests before age 3, so most new diagnoses of autism are in children.
- Most people who actively read about autism are worried-but-hopeful parents of children who are or may be autistic.
- Because of the changes in how autism is defined, many adults now considered autistic never received an autism diagnosis.
- High-functioning adults with autism are often uninterested in reading about non-autistic perspectives on autism.
- Some adults with autism have intellectual disabilities that make it extremely difficult to read about autism.
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Employment For People With Aspergers
One of the important aspects of living an adult life is the ability to hold a steady job and pay rent and bills.
For people suffering from Aspergers there is an added challenge caused by their difficulty understanding social interactions.
This means that the best jobs for a young adult with Aspergers Syndrome are those that are highly structured, do not involve deadlines, but does require attention to detail.
Aspies need to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
Is Your Autistic Adult Child Ready To Move Out
As a parent of an autistic adult child, you may spend a great deal of time preparing for and agonizing over if your child will ever be able to live independently. In our society, most young adults move out of their family of origins home into their own home between the ages of 18 30 years old. Sometimes this is because the young adult is leaving home to go away to college, sometimes it is because the young adult has a job away from the familys home, and sometimes it is simply because it is time for the young adult to be more independent. Our society generally regards moving out as developmentally appropriate however, you may wonder if your autistic child will ever be ready for this rite of passage.
Start by thinking about the new skills young adults need to live on their own:
- Managing money to pay the bills, rent, utilities, food, etc.
- Managing their lives to know when to go to bed and when to wake up so as not be late for work or school.
- Eating right, creating a shopping list, purchasing food, preparing dinner, ordering take-out.
- Remembering to take medications and maintaining health and hygiene.
- Getting to appointments, work, stores, social engagements, etc.
- Attending to the not fun chores of cleaning the house, washing and folding the laundry, etc
All of this and more is necessary for independent living.
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Can A Person With Autism Feel Love
The reason some people still question whether a person with autism can feel love is due to the misunderstanding that autistic people cant feel emotions .
This belief comes from many places, ranging from simple misunderstandings to TV Shows, movies and, dare I say it: fake news . But perhaps the most likely explanation for the belief that people with autism cant feel love/any other emotion, can be found in a report by autism expert, Simon Baron Cohen, published in 1995.
In Mindblindness:An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind Baron Cohen theorises , that autistic people may have a form of mindblindness: something which stops us from being able to imagine ourselves in other peoples shoes.
For many this was a highly regarded theory for a long time . However, recent accounts have shown that people with autism not only can feel others emotions, but some of us can even over-empathise .
This isnt to say some people with autism dont struggle to understand emotions, as sometimes we do! But unlike the mindblindness theory, this is not a direct result of autism and instead due to external factors such as:
It should also be noted that, although there is little proof relating autism to being empathetic, 50% of people who are autistic also have alexithymia: a condition which makes it hard to understand emotions. However, this is not exclusive to people with autism as 10% of non-autistic people also have alexithymia.
What Is Autistic Spectrum Disorder
It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the UK is autistic, with boys being more affected. It is not a disease, and there is no cure. If a person has ASD, he or she has to live their whole life with it. It does not restrict a person from leading a normal life, but certain therapies are needed to make them live a life they want to. Some people with ASD require little or no support, while others need daily support from a carer or parents. ASD can present as early as before three years of age but may be diagnosed after three years. The children need speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, and other interventions to help them live a normal life.
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Planning Starts At 14
Senator says parents often begin panicking when their kids hit 14 and transition planning starts coming up. IDEA requires every state to begin this process for all students with an Individualized Education Program by age 16, and some states require that school districts start the process as early as 14. During the annual IEP meeting, the focus shifts to more specific planning and goal-setting for the transition into young adulthood. Goals might include things like post-secondary education, vocational training, and independent living. Autism Speaks also provides a Transition Tool Kit, which offers guidance on everything from housing to Internet safety.
When it came to Nat, Senator created a shared living arrangement. Its like a group home, except that theres a live-in caregiver, which Nat qualifies for due to his level of disability, as opposed to rotating staff. The idea is that its just like home, Senator says. Hes got to do the groceries, clean and do the laundry, assisted by another part-time caregiver. Nat shares a house not far from his family with another young man with similar issues that mans family owns the house and Nat rents from them.
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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 typical adult.
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Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no standard diagnostic criteria for adults with suspected ASD, but they are in development.
In the meantime, clinicians primarily diagnose adults with ASD through a series of in-person observations and interactions. They also take into consideration any symptoms the person reports experiencing.
If youre interested in being evaluated for ASD, begin with your family doctor, who will evaluate you to be certain that there isnt an underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for in-depth assessment.
The clinician will want to talk with you about any issues you have regarding communication, emotions, behavioral patterns, range of interests, and more. Youll answer questions about your childhood, and your clinician might request to speak with your parents or other older family members to gain their perspectives about your lifelong behavior patterns.
If the diagnostic criteria for children are being used for reference, your clinician can ask your parent questions from that list, relying on their memories of you as a child for further information.
If your clinician determines that you didnt display symptoms of ASD in childhood, but instead began experiencing symptoms as a teen or adult, you may be evaluated for other possible mental health or affective disorders.
Because most autism diagnoses are made in children, it could be a challenge to find a provider who will diagnose adults.
Autism Is Inherently Negative There Are No Benefits Associated With Being On The Spectrum
While people with an ASD face certain challenges, the myths about autism that associate the condition with negative qualities are simply not true as they are also likely to exhibit some of the positive qualities associated with autism. People with an ASD tend to be extremely honest, logical, detailed-oriented and passionate about their interests. They think differently than neurotypical people, and their unique perspectives can be an asset to their family members, friends and colleagues.
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What Age Does Autism Usually Show Up
Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
Great Strengths And Abilities
In general, people with autism are honest and dependable most are focused on their work and are rarely distracted by social activities or outside interests.
Quite a few have exceptional talents in areas such as computer coding, mathematics, music, drafting, organizing, and visual arts. While it can be tough for autistic adults to set up and manage their own space and schedules, many are outstanding employees.
Some corporations have started to recognize the value of actively recruiting and hiring autistic individuals a few include:
- Freddie Mac
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Why People With Autism Face A Lower Life Expectancy
When 27-year-old Ben walks into a job interview, he could make a good first impression. Polite, intelligent, passionate, Ben is clearly well-primed with background research.
Yet more than four years and 50 applications since he began job-hunting armed with a degree in law from De Montfort University in Leicester and a certificate of Legal Practice achieved in his home town of Cambridge Ben is still unemployed.
I always knew it would be difficult, he says. There are lots of people who want to become solicitors but I dont think I appreciated just how hard it would be. It is dispiriting not to make headway. But I wont give up.
Ben, who is one of the subjects of a new BBC Two documentary series, Employable Me, which explores what life is like for those who have become excluded from the workforce thanks to neurodevelopmental diagnoses of Aspergers, and Tourettes, is not just looking for work in a highly competitive sector.
He is also facing the prejudices unwitting or not of prospective employers who cannot see past the Aspergers syndrome with which he was diagnosed at 14.
It is a scenario that anyone with a diagnosis of autism plus their families and friends will know well. But finding work is just one challenge. Many will find it difficult to make friends or have relationships, and will always struggle to live independently.
The first of three parts of Employable Me is on BBC Two at 9pm tomorrow
Can A Child With Autism Lead A Normal Life
The best place to get an answer to this question is to ask someone who has autism . Overwhelmingly, adolescents and adults with autism who are asked this question are content, optimistic and grateful for the life that they have. It is unlikely that any of these people had the same dynamics as they went to school and matured into adulthood. It is more likely that these people simply have a healthy perspective of themselves, their abilities and their future plans.
As a parent of a child with autism, this optimistic vision of the future does not necessarily make it any easier as you are raising a child on the spectrum. Your perspective as a parent can be filled with worry and anxiety over your childs future. You may experience frustration and sadness on days when your childs behaviors or difficulty with communication are problematic. It is normal to feel this way when you are raising and living with someone on the spectrum.
Changing your perspective can help alleviate some of the frustration, sadness and difficulty in raising a child with autism. What if you began to view your childs deficits as a different way of thinking rather than a disability? Or, what if you began to respond differently to tantrums because you understand that your child is just trying to communicate with you? What if you understood stubborn defiance as your childs attempt to do something independently?
A child with autism can and will live a normal life.
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What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.
The signs include the following:
- Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
- Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
- Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
- Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
- No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months.
- No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Early Intervention Yields Better Results
Age at intervention can impact long-term outcomes has shown that the earlier a child is treated, the better the prognosis will be. In recent years, there has been an increase in the percentage of children who can attend school in a typical classroom and go on to live semi-independently in community settings. However, the majority of people with autism remain affected to some degree in their ability to communicate and socialize.
As this video presented by V. Mark Durand, Ph.D. explains, many people with autism engage in challenging and sometimes disturbing behaviors. Families and teachers of individuals with autism can learn to employ positive psychology to help them experience happier and less-stressful lives.
Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for Individuals with Challenging Behavior
Presented by V. Mark Durand, Ph.D.
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Fix His Leaking Gut And Cool The Inflammation Through Autism Food
- Lists down the food he hasallergy. Give him gluten free food and take away other food allergens
- Give him specialantibiotics to kill off the toxic bacteria in his small intestine.
- Give him probiotics toreplenish healthy bacteria
- Helping him digest his foodby giving him enzymes to improve his digestive system
Living With An Autism Diagnosis
Receiving an ASD diagnosis as an adult could mean a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to the world. And it can help you learn how to better work with your strengths and strengthen areas of your life that are challenging.
Getting diagnosed can help you gain a different perspective on your childhood. It can also help those around you to understand and empathize more with your unique characteristics.
Better understanding the set of challenges you face can help you find new and inventive ways to work with or around those challenges. You can also work with your clinician and your family to seek support that may be right for you.
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