What Are The Symptoms Of Autism
The early signs and symptoms of autism vary widely. Some children with ASD only have mild symptoms, and others have severe behavioral issues.
Toddlers usually like to interact with people and the environment they live in. Parents are typically the first to notice that their child is showing atypical behavior.
Every child on the autism spectrum experiences challenges in the following areas:
- restricted or repetitive behaviors
Early symptoms of ASD can include the following:
- developing language skills late
- not pointing at objects or people or wave goodbye
- not tracking people with their eyes
- showing a lack of responsiveness when their name is called
- not imitating facial expressions
Some individuals arent diagnosed until adulthood.
At present, theres no one official test for diagnosing autism. A parent or doctor may notice early indications of ASD in a young child, though a diagnosis would need to be confirmed.
If symptoms confirm it, a team of specialists and experts will usually make an official diagnosis of ASD. This could include a psychologist or neuropsychologist, a developmental pediatrician, a neurologist, and/or a psychiatrist.
Disclosing Your Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
The decision to disclose your adult autism spectrum diagnosis to family, friends, and coworkers is highly personal. And while some people choose to keep their diagnosis to themselves, there are many benefits to disclosure.
If you decide to disclose your diagnosis, be sure to explain how ASD affects your daily life and interactions with others. An open dialogue about your unique challenges can help those around you better understand your behavior and needs. If youre uncomfortable disclosing it on your own, start with a close friend or family member and ask them to be your advocate.
In some cases, you may receive a negative reaction during disclosure. These reactions typically come from a lack of understanding and provide valuable opportunities to educate others. There is always a certain degree of trial and error, and theres no way to predict how people will react. This shouldnt hold you back from disclosing your diagnosis if you think its the right choice, though.
What To Do Next After Receiving An Adult Autism Diagnosis
I have written about what to do after receiving an adult diagnosis so please consult this article for guidance. There is also the decision on who should be told about the diagnosis. Ive written an in-depth blog about that.
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Autism Symptoms In Adults At Home
Other peoples feelings baffle you. You have a collection of figurines on your desk that must be in the same order at all times. These, and other common manifestations of ASD, may be apparent in adults at home:
- Your family members lovingly refer to you as the eccentric professor of the family, even though you dont work in academia.
- Youve always wanted a best friend, but never found one.
- You often invent your own words and expressions to describe things.
- Even when youre in a quiet place, like the library, you find yourself making involuntary noises like clearing your throat over and over.
- You follow the same schedule every day of the week, and dont like unexpected events.
- Expressions like, Curiosity killed the cat or Dont count your chickens before they hatch are confusing to you.
- You are always bumping into things and tripping over your own feet.
- In your leisure time, you prefer to play individual games and sports, like golf, where everyone works for themselves instead of working toward a common goal on a team.
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Can You Get Adhd As An Adult
The short answer is, no, adults don’t 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, it’s 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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Do I Need An Autism Diagnosis
Some adults may question whether they need a diagnosis later in life. Some people self-identify as autistic without receiving an official diagnosis. Its a personal decision. What can be helpful in receiving the label is access to supports and services that may not be available without a diagnosis, i.e. an income support program that provides additional income if mental health issues prevent being able to work full time. Maybe you need a job coach, a support person to look in on you a couple of times a week, specialized mental health services, or supports in the workplace. A diagnosis can also provide peace of mind and validation that indeed, you do have ASD.
Self-diagnosis in the adult autism community is widely accepted. You can join a support group or get together with other ASD adults without a formal diagnosis. Pursuing a diagnosis can be expensive as most health plans wont cover the cost and it can be difficult to find a professional who is adept at providing an adult diagnosis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.
There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a persons life, although symptoms may improve over time. 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.
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Diagnosis In Young Children
Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.
Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups
Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.
Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the;Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.
Stage 2: Additional Evaluation
This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.
This team may include:
The evaluation may assess:
- Blood tests
How To Get Tested For Autism As An Adult
Todays Got Questions? answer is by neurologist David Beversdorf. Dr. Beversdorf works within theAutism Speaks Autism Treatment Network at the University of Missouris Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
Our 6 year old has been diagnosed with autism, and Id like to get evaluated, too. Problem is, I cant find anyone who knows how to diagnose adults. All the tests seem to be designed for children.
Thank you for your question. Its an important one. With awareness of autism so high today, its no longer as common for an autism diagnosis to be overlooked in childhood. However, this wasnt always the case. As a result, its not infrequent that I see teens and adults seeking a diagnosis. Like you, many are parents who begin connecting the dots after one of their children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder .
As you discovered, evaluating autism in a previously undiagnosed adult can be challenging.;And yes, its true that the standardized diagnostic checklists we commonly use are designed for children. There are no established diagnostic tests for ASD in adults.;However, Im glad to report that they are currently in development.
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Tip 3: Better Organize Your Life
While many adults with ASD are extremely organized, others may become so fixated on certain interests that other aspects of their lives become disorganized. If this is a challenge you face, these tips can help you stay organized:
Use a timer to stay on track. This can be especially useful when youre working on a hobby that youre intensely passionate about. Once the timer goes off, you know its time to switch to an activity that is less intriguing, but nonetheless important, such as paying bills or grocery shopping.
Use a list or day planner. If remembering appointments and other responsibilities is a challenge, use a paper planner or an organizational app for your cell phone. You could also use anything from spreadsheets to a whiteboard to help you organize daily tasks.
Automate certain aspects of your life. For example, use online banking to track spending and automatic payment options to manage your bills. This can also help you avoid the clutter that tends to build up when you receive paper billing statements in the mail.
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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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
People with ADHD typically have difficulty paying attention to whats going on around them, they are easily distracted, they tend to do things without thinking about the results, they are often forgetful, have trouble finishing what they intended to do, are disorganized, jump from one activity to another, are restless and have poor social skills.
Many of these symptoms overlap with those of Aspergers. Research has shown growing evidence for a connection between Aspergers and ADHD. Genetic studies suggest the two disorders share genetic risk factors, and studies of the incidence and distribution of both conditions confirm that many people with Aspergers have symptoms of ADHD and vice versa. Brain imaging and studies of the brain structure show similarities between the two disorders.
Having said that, there are important differences between the two. People with ADHD often try to do multiple activities at the same time. They get distracted easily and jump from one interest or activity to another. Focusing on one thing for a long time is hard for them. On the other hand, people with Aspergers tend to focus on only one activity at a time, and they focus on that activity intensely with little regard for anything else going on around them. They are hyper-focused rather than unfocused.
My Story Being Diagnosed With Autism As An Adult
My whole life I thought there was something wrong with me.; My diagnosis changed those thoughts.; When I learned about my diagnosis I knew nothing was wrong with meI knew that I had something very special about me and my life was about to change.
It was April 3,;2013, two weeks after my 34th;birthday, when I heard the words: youre on the spectrum. As soon as I heard those four words, my body collapsed into my mom’s arms. My mom and my stepdad were both in the room with me and you could feel the relief that went out the window.;
I remember walking out of work two days after my official diagnosis;after a long day and stopping in my steps in the middle of the parking lot thinking to myself I feel normal.; Why, after all these years, did I finally feel normal?
Im still trying to figure out what this all means.; All I know for sure is that I finally feel whole and as strange as this might sound, my life makes sense now.; I dont feel out of place and awkward.; I guess the greatest thing that came out of this is how Ive been feeling my whole life has finally been validated.
I think I had two things working against me growing up.; The first was that autism wasnt as known as it is today. Second, it was and still is in a small way considered to be a boys thing.
While boys on the spectrum tend to become rowdy, girls on the spectrum tend to introvert and are labeled shy and quiet. Thats all I heard growing upthat I was shy and quiet.; It annoyed the heck out of me.
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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
Diagnosing Autism In Girls
The phenomenon of masking autism symptoms is more pronounced in girls than in boys. Traditionally, girls are more likely to act in very passive ways, to avoid being thought of as troublemakers. What might appear to be quiet and submissive behavior could actually be undiagnosed autism that the girl was born with and did not develop.
Because the symptoms of autism can be as subtle as they are, this means that people who are high-functioning on the autism spectrum can go for years without an appropriate diagnosis, leading to the belief that they developed their autism as they aged.
For example, adults with high-functioning autism can have relatively mild social and communication challenges when compared to people with more recognizable symptoms of autism. This has led many such adults to be mistakenly diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Similarly, many girls with high-functioning autism are also misdiagnosed because their autism does not fit the stereotypes of the disability. No two presentations of autism spectrum disorder are exactly the same, and some presentations are outside the norm.
High-functioning individuals can also be better at hiding the signs of their condition, to better fit in with others or to avoid being bullied or abused.
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.