Can A Person With Autism Spectrum Disorder Live An Independent Adult Life
The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence. The focus of intervention services is to help the individual achieve their highest possible level of independence, and that wont look the same for everyone.
Because ASD is variable , treatment plans should be individualized and focused on each persons passions, interests, and skillsets. With the scientifically-validated Applied Behavior Analysis treatments available at Therapeutic Pathways, your family member with ASD will develop skills that will help them tremendously in navigating everyday life and meeting goals.
There are various degrees and stages of independence. Depending on how early your family member was diagnosed and began treatment, you should treat the journey to independence as just that a journey. It wont happen overnight it will take patience and perseverance to help your family member become more independent.
Types Of Jobs Typically Suited For Autistic People
When looking for a job, it is important to search for positions that will highlight your strengths, whether you have autism or not.
For autistic people, this means looking for jobs that do not require high levels of short-term working memory. People on the spectrum often have a stronger long-term memory than a typical person, but they struggle with tasks that require strong short-term memory.
Similarly, abstract thinking is typically difficult for those with autism. Instead, autistic individuals tend to do better with clear, concrete language.
These types of jobs require little short-term memory and abstract thinking:
- Computer programming
The right job for someone with autism depends on their personal skillset and interests. Jobs should be selected based on an individualâs strengths and which environment will encourage the person the most.
This means the first step is identifying the autistic individualâs strengths. By focusing on their abilities and interests, they will be better able to secure and hold meaningful and successful jobs.
People With Milder Forms Of Autism Struggle As Adults
by Deborah Rudacille / 8 September 2011
Contrary to popular assumption, people diagnosed with so-called mild forms of autism dont fare any better in life than those with severe forms of the disorder. Thats the conclusion of a new study that suggests that even individuals with normal intelligence and language abilities struggle to fit into society because of their social and communication problems.
In fact, people diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified are no more likely to marry or have a job than those with more disabling forms of autism, according to a Norwegian study published online in June in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders1.
Early intervention has the potential to alter this trajectory, say experts. But until todays children with autism reach maturity, it will be hard to say how much behavioral intervention at a young age can alter the course of their lives.
The implication of our findings is that the consequences of having an autism spectrum disorder with profound difficulties in communication skills and social impairment cant be compensated for by either high intellectual level or normal language function, says lead investigator Anne Myhre, associate professor of mental health and addiction at the University of Oslo in Norway.
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Different Degrees Of Independence
First, its important to understand that a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder does not mean that your child or family member will not be able to date, make friends, attend college, get married, become a parent, or have a satisfying career. People with ASD do these things and more every day.
What an ASD diagnosis does mean is that your child or family member will progress differently than people without ASD.
At Therapeutic Pathways, our team of therapists and behavior technicians work to help those diagnosed with ASD reach their full potential. This means reaching different stages of independence over time.
Again, its not possible to provide a concrete answer of how long it will take your child or family member to develop certain independent living skills. Our staff meets each client where they are and works closely with them to develop skills to keep your child safe and happy.
Some of the autism independent living skills that we encourage and develop at Therapeutic Pathways include:
Turning 22 With Autism
The relative lack of information for and about adults on the spectrum means that a lot of parents suddenly find themselves scrambling when their childnow a young adultreaches the magical age of 22.
That’s because, on their 22nd birthday, people with autism suddenly lose their entitlement to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and enter the much chancier world of adult services.
While the IDEA actually requires schools to offer “free and appropriate education” to all children, there is no such requirement for adults. As a result, funding and programming for adults may or may not be available at any given time.
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Strong Interests Support Success
One example of a trait of autism is called restricted interests. This is a type of restrictive behavior. Restricted interests have to do with how the person with ASD has an intense passion for a certain topic. Whereas people without autism often have a range of interests and can easily switch focus from one topic or activity to another and may not commit to excelling at one particular thing, people with autism may have a limited and narrow range of interests.
This characteristic may contribute to the success that many people with ASD experience in life. By being able to focus and maintain one core interest for years or even for most of ones life, the person with ASD can use this interest to accomplish great things.
Choosing The Right Job For People With Autism Or Asperger’s Syndrome
Temple Grandin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people. I have great difficulty with tasks that put high demands on short-term working memory. I cannot handle multiple tasks at the same time. Table 1 is a list of BAD jobs that I would have great difficulty doing. Table 2 is a list of easy jobs for a visual thinker like me. I have difficulty doing abstract math such as algebra and most of the jobs on Table 2 do not require complex math. Many of the visual thinking jobs would also be good for people with dyslexia.
Some job tips for people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome:
- Jobs should have a well-defined goal or endpoint.
- Sell your work, not your personality. Make a portfolio of your work.
- The boss must recognize your social limitations.
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Keys To Independent Living For Autistic Adults
In order to ensure a successful transition into adulthood, teens must learn the keys to independent living for autistic adults.
Since these skills are not typically taught in high school, you must take some time with your child to help them learn independent living skills outside of the classroom.
Daily living skills, also known as adaptive skills, must be practiced by individuals with autism before they reach adulthood. This can include anything from grooming skills to learning how to travel to appointments on their own, to doing laundry and preparing meals.
Parents may overlook adaptive skills in favor of academic and behavior management skills. Daily living skills are no less important than other skills, and even an autistic individual with above-average intelligence may have difficulty learning those skills on their own.
In fact, theres even a study that shows difficulties with adaptive skills may be especially evident in autistic teens with high intelligence. Thats why its of the utmost importance for them to learn these skills before they transition into adulthood.
Autism Is Not Inevitably Associated With Severe Cognitive And Language Impairments
At the time of publication of DSM-III, autism was generally viewed as being almost always associated with moderate to severe intellectual impairment and diagnostic criteria also required gross deficits in language development. Indeed, even by the time of the DSM-IV-Text revision , it was noted that In most cases there is an associated diagnosis of Mental Retardation. However, recent evidence suggests that up to two thirds of individuals with autism have an IQ in the average range or above . Similarly, around 6075% of individuals do develop some useful speech , and in the current version of DSM-5 there is no mention of delay in language development as a core diagnostic symptom.
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Focusing On Your Strengths
Should Autistic Adults Have Kids
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Can an adult with autism be a successful parent? The answer is absolutely yes, under the right circumstances. While a person with moderate or severe autism is unlikely to have the skills to parent a child, many people with high-functioning autism are ready, willing, and able to take on the challenges of raising kids.
Many aspects of parenting can be tougher for moms and dads on the autism spectrum. The reverse, however, is also true there are some ways in which parenting might be easier if you’re autistic .
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Tips For Working With Individuals On The Autism Spectrum
Thank you to the Indiana Resource Center Autism and Autism Society of Indiana for compiling these tips.
Remember that each person is different, and specific tips may not apply to all.
For more information on the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, visit our website at . Also, be sure to like IRCA on Facebook, and join us on Twitter and Pinterest.
For more information on the Autism Society of Indiana, visit their website at . Also, be sure to like ASI on Facebook, and join them on Twitter.
Indiana Resource Center for Autism & Autism Society of Indiana. Autism awareness month: Tips for working with individuals on the autism spectrum. The Reporter, 21. Retrieved from .
No Holding Back: The Autistic Superheroes Proving Nothing Is Impossible
Whether theyre changing the world as we know it, entertaining us in our favourite movies, books, and poems, or overcoming the odds to become champions in their field, what all of these hugely successful people with autism show is that being on the spectrum neednt be a barrier to success.
Everyone from Albert Einstein to Sir Anthony Hopkins has shown us that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, we can always overcome them to achieve our dreams.
If nothing else, thats something all of us can surely find inspiring, regardless as to whether or not were on the spectrum.
When we talk about forgiveness, its often regarding others forgiving your elementary school bully or the coworker who took credit for your work idea. Unfortunately, we often forget about one very important person who is also worthy of forgiveness: ourselves.
Forgiveness is difficult in its own right. However, when we have to face the reality of forgiving ourselves, it can quickly become a impossible feat.
With that being said, learning how to forgive yourself and move forward from trauma, regret, or remorse can help contribute to a healthier, happier life.
So how to forgive yourself?
Here are some helpful reminders and thoughts to use on your journey towards inner peace and happiness.
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Autistic Girls Dont Fit The Model
Autism is a developmental disorder that is marked by two unusual kinds of behaviors: deficits in communication and social skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Children with autism also often have sensory processing issues. But heres the hitch, according to Susan F. Epstein, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist. The model that we have for a classic autism diagnosis has really turned out to be a male model. Thats not to say that girls dont ever fit it, but girls tend to have a quieter presentation, with not necessarily as much of the repetitive and restricted behavior, or it shows up in a different way.
Stereotypes may get in the way of recognition. So where the boys are looking at train schedules, girls might have excessive interest in horses or unicorns, which is not unexpected for girls, Dr. Epstein notes. But the level of the interest might be missed and the level of oddity can be a little more damped down. Its not quite as obvious to an untrained eye. She adds that as the spectrum has grown, its gotten harder to diagnose less-affected boys as well.
In fact, according to a 2005 study at Stanford University, autistic girls exhibit less repetitive and restricted behavior than boys do. The study also found brain differences between autistic boys and girls help explain this discrepancy.
Barbara Mcclintock Scientist And Cytogeneticist
McClintock was a notable scientist who made important breakthroughs in the study of chromosomes and how they change during the reproduction process. She is thought to be autistic. She was able to focus for great lengths on her interests, specifically her work, and she found social attention very aversive, so much so that she almost refused the Nobel Prize.
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Myths About Autistic Parents
There are a great many myths surrounding autism. These myths can make it hard to understand how an autistic person could be a good parent. Here are just a few such misunderstandings about autism:
- People with autism don’t feel normal emotions. While people with autism may have slightly different reactions to particular situations or experiences than some of their neurotypical peers, they do feel joy, anger, curiosity, frustration, delight, love, and every other emotion.
- People with autism can’t love. As stated above, this is completely untrue.
- People with autism can’t empathize with others. In some cases, it is hard for an autistic person to put themselves into the shoes of someone else who wants, feels, or reacts in ways that are outside of their own experience. But this is true for anyone. For example, it’s hard to empathize with a child who wants to do things you dislike.
- People with autism can’t communicate well. People with high-functioning autism use spoken language as well as neurotypical peers. They may, however, have difficulty with “social communication.” They may need to work harder to make sense of body language or subtle forms of communication such as nonverbal cues.
Planning And Resources For Success
Lisa Sullivan, MS, is a nutritionist and a corporate health and wellness educator with nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry.
It can be difficult for people with autism spectrum disorder to find regular, paid employment. However, increasing numbers of employers are open to hiring adults with disabilities, including those with ASD.
That said, if you’re an adult with ASD and about to embark on a job hunt, be aware that you may have to jump through more hoops and pass more tests and evaluations than neurotypical job candidates. Here are 10 things to know to help you understand the challenges you may face and where to turn for support.
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What Defines Success For Autism Treatments
What makes a successful autism treatment depends on whom you ask. A researcher may judge a treatment based on the results of a clinical trial or on the outcome measure chosen. For an autistic person, the best measure of success might be an improvement in quality of life. To others, no treatment makes sense for autisms core features.
To get a glimpse of such disparate perspectives, we asked three researchers and two autistic people to tell us what a successful autism therapy looks like to them.
Professor, University of Connecticut
Treatment is more likely to be successful if a child had mild traits at the time of diagnosis and received therapy between the ages of 2 and 3.
Editor, Thinking Persons Guide to Autism
Many conditions that co-occur with autism require treatment, but autism in and of itself does not.
Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Measuring the success of an early intervention should involve metrics that are meaningful for the lives of autistic children.
Director, Spring Harbor Hospital
Success for some autistic children is stripping away the anxiety, the pain, the aggression leaving just autism and its challenges.
Options Include Day Programs
Meanwhile, some parents of young children are already researching options. Chew has put Charlie on a waiting list for state housing but is thinking the ideal immediate plan will involve a part-time job with a good day program.
She writes that her new hobby/obsession is finding something comparable to the county school for autistic children, which he loves and where he learns daily living and vocational skills. But this appears to be difficult if not impossible, she says. I know the day that yellow bus does not pull up in front of our house will be a tough one.
Chew is well aware that funding shortages make her idea of extending special-needs services to 25 a pipe dream. But she also knows that the dearth of options leads many parents to keep these young people at home, often idle and lacking the structure, routine and calm those with ASD need to do their best.
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