How Does Autism Affect Adults
Families who have autistic loved ones may worry about what life with ASD looks like for an adult.
Some autistic adults go on to live or work independently. Others may require continued aid or support throughout their lives. Each autistic person is different.
Introducing therapies and other remedies early in life can help lead to more independence and better quality of life.
Sometimes autistic people dont receive a diagnosis until much later in life. This is due, in part, to a previous lack of awareness among medical practitioners.
The Brain Of An Autistic Person Simply Works Differently
Autistic people can find communicating and engaging with others hard. But a typical autistic person does not exist, and autistic traits may be in all of us.
Pi: Some autistic people can memorize numbers very well
A whole range of different conditions belong to the autism spectrum disorder or autism, a life-long neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how people communicate and interact with the world.
One in 160 children has autism but several recent studies have reported rates that are substantially higher, according to the World Health Organization .
ASD is considered a developmental disorder because although it can be diagnosed later in life it begins in early childhood and tends to persist into adolescence and adulthood.
The level of intellectual functioning in autistic people varies hugely, ranging from profound impairment to superior non-verbal cognitive skills. It is estimated that around 50% of people with autism also suffer from an intellectual disability, according to the WHO.
There is a wide range of symptoms in autistic people. Some of the main symptoms include communication problems like delayed speech development, and difficulty in social interactions, such as making friends, maintaining eye contact, reading people’s body language or facial expressions, and expressing how they feel. Repetitive behaviors and strict routines may also be noticed, like repetitive body movements or finding it difficult to adjust even to small changes.
Its Harder For Me To Remember Sequences
Have you noticed that sometimes I start something you told me to do and get stuck halfway through the task?
Maybe you asked me to do the laundry, and explained in detail what I should do.
So I collected the clothes from each bedroom.
I brought them to the basement.
I opened the washer and put the clothes in.
But I cant remember what my next step is.
Whether its giving directions to get from my house to school or a list of chores that need to be done today, I will be more successful if you write out the steps.
Picture charts can be helpful to keep me on track with getting up or going to bed routines. Color-coding where things belong in the kitchen or my bedroom also helps.
The National Autistic Society has some great ideas to help me with these things, so check out their suggestionsit will probably make life less stressful for both of us!
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What Are The Different Types Of Autism
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is published by the American Psychiatric Association . Clinicians use it to diagnose a variety of psychiatric disorders.
The most recent fifth edition of the DSM was released in 2013. The DSM-5 currently recognizes five different ASD subtypes, or specifiers. They are:
- with or without accompanying intellectual impairment
- with or without accompanying language impairment
- associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
- associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder
Someone can receive a diagnosis of one or more specifiers.
Before the DSM-5, autistic people may have received a diagnosis of:
- autistic disorder
- pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified
- childhood disintegrative disorder
Its important to note that a person who received one of these earlier diagnoses hasnt lost their diagnosis and wont need to be reevaluated.
Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development.
The DSM-5 divides symptoms of ASD into two categories: problems with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.
Should I Tell People I Have Autism
The decision to disclose autism is up to you and will depend on your specific situation.
It is generally helpful to disclose autism to family members and close friends in order to enable them to support you better.
There is no clear rule about disclosing to employers. In general, an employee cannot be compelled to disclose private information and may not choose to for fear of potential discrimination. However, there are exceptions depending on the nature of the role, and on how your autism affects you. You do have a legal responsibility to tell your employer about a pre-existing condition if not disclosing could put you or someone else at risk of harm. You also have to disclose if your autism would make it difficult for you to perform the tasks in the job description.
If you are unsure, we suggest that you contact an Autism New Zealand Outreach Coordinator, who will be able to provide you with guidance that is specific to your situation.
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Autism Is Currently Estimated To Be Present In 1 In 54 People* It Is Not A Mental Illness But A Neurological Difference
Every autistic person is unique, with a wide range of skills, qualities, interests, and personality styles. As the saying goes, if you have met one autistic person, you have met one autistic person. The level of support required is also highly individual. This heterogeneity is due to the fact that autism is not a single condition but a cluster of underlying neurological differences that are present in varying combinations in each person. The behaviour and needs related to these differences share common themes but manifest in different ways for each individual.
Autism is considered an invisible disability since challenges and difficulties are often not immediately apparent. There are no visible physical markers. The cognitive differences associated with autism may also contribute to specific skills such as superior visual memory, attention to detail, and pattern recognition.
*Maenner, M. J., Shaw, K. A., Baio, J., Washington, A., Patrick, M., DiRienzo, M., . . . Dietz, P. M. . Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 100 sites, United States, 2016. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 69, 1-12. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6904a1
Unreliable And Biased Tests May Have Underrepresented Autism Intelligence
In the decades before autism was officially recognized and diagnosed, most autistic patients were relegated to general diagnoses that included intellectual disabilities, and in milder cases, learning disabilities.
But the true links between autism and intelligence are more complicated and much more fascinating.
Today, autism is considered a neurological disorder separate from intellectual disabilities. Among the general population, intellectual disability rates run at about 1 percent among ASD patients, the rate is closer to 40 percent according to the Center for Autism Research.
In addition to having a much higher correlation, there is a lot of speculation that the two conditions may have a causative relationship. Contributing to this belief is the fact that there are well-established connections between other genetic syndromes and intellectual disability Fragile X, Retts, and Downs Syndrome, among others.
However, establishing these numbers and correlations is complicated because the standard methods of IQ testing are not necessarily effective with autistic individuals. More than a decade ago, a study called the Special Needs and Autism Project led by the Department of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education in the UK, concluded that the links between autism and intellectual disability were less common than had been historically assumed.
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Is Asperger’s A Type Of Autism
Prior to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual *, Aspergers Syndrome was considered separate from autism. It was diagnosed when the person met the criteria for autism but had no language delay in childhood.
Under the new DSM-5* criteria, people who were previously diagnosed with Aspergers may now be diagnosed with autism with a severity level of 1 .
This does not mean that the term Aspergers needs to be dropped from our vocabulary. In fact, most people who were initially diagnosed with Aspergers prefer to continue referring to themselves as Aspies or as having Aspergers.
*American Psychiatric Association. . Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. . Arlington VA: Author.
Understanding Mental Processing And Autism
Everyones mind is like a computer different operating systems and different programs, creating unique strengths and challenges.
For an autistic mind, our program for social interaction doesnt come with a standard upgrade like everyone elses. It doesnt just work as we gain experience, we need someone with an upgrade to create a manual just for us and teach us how to read it.
We have the program and we want to connect with others, we just dont know how.
Without this upgrade, every time we start, it takes too long to load the commands. All the movements, actions, sounds and images every little thing that happens between people, it all races across the screen as a jumbled mess of foreign code. A secret language that everyone else seems to understand.
Our social programming takes all our systems energy just to try to decode, which means other programs freeze up emotions, thoughts and how much our senses take in.
Our system still receives everything from the world around us, but the programs to make sense of it all dont have enough power to run. With social interaction taking up the processing, everything else lags behind. The system overheats, and we shut down to save ourselves, which is what we call a meltdown.
Too much information and not enough energy to make sense of our world.
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We Dont Always Follow The Rules
There are many rules in life which we have to learn that are never taught. For example, we say thank you for a gift regardless of whether we like it, or asking if someone else wants the last slice of anything . The problem is, these subtle social guidelines are everywhere and, more often than not, autistic people break them without a second thought.
Obviously, it is not an autistic persons intention to break these rules, its just that, as the autistic mind works on absolutes , it can be a challenge to understand many of these acts wherein nearly all cases they go against how they would seem i.e. if someone asks how are you? they dont always actually want to hear how you are, they just want you to say fine and then you can move on.
Nevertheless, whilst autistic people arent great at getting the message when the message hasnt been made clear, we are incredible at memorizing what we are told and are brilliant at following instructions to the letter. Therefore, if theres some kind of rule that an autistic person doesnt seem to be following, just tell us. its not like we want to be naïve to this and, whats more, if you know we struggle and arent doing anything about it, well that, my friend, is perhaps more rude than anything we do.
Does Autism Affect Intelligence
Intelligence are not inherently affected by autism however, other conditions that do affect IQ, such as intellectual disabilities or savant syndrome, can co-occur with autism.
This means that autistic people are statistically more likely than neurotypical people to sit on the extreme ends of the intelligence bell curve. It is important to realise that above or below average intellectual ability, if present, is generally due to a separate diagnosis, not the autism itself.
Films like Rain Man have promoted the stereotype of autistic people having savant abilities, and contemporary research in medical biography posits historical figures like Mozart, Einstein, Darwin, and Newton as having been on the autism spectrum. This has contributed to creating an expectation of autism being correlated with giftedness, special talents, and superior intelligence. In reality, while savantism is more common in autistics than in the neurotypical population , it is far from the norm.
Instead, people with autism may have higher aptitude in specific types of tasks that require visual thinking or pattern recognition, which can make it easier to learn certain skills such as foreign languages, musical instruments, or maths. The typically autistic intense focus on a single topic, and relentless study as well as practice, may also contribute to what looks like a special talent.
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Visual Problems And Autism
Autistic individuals have difficulty processing and responding to information from their senses, as well as difficulties with communication and social interaction. Visual problems are also very common.
Often, the signs of these vision problems can be masked by the behaviors that autistic individuals use to cope with the sensory overload of the world around them. The behaviors that are attributable to both autism and vision problems can include lack of eye contact, staring at spinning objects or light, fleeting peripheral glances, side viewing, and difficulty attending visually.
Autistic people may also have problems coordinating their central and peripheral vision. For example, when asked to follow an object with their eyes, they usually do not look directly at the object. Instead, they will scan or look off to the side of the object. Eye movement disorders and crossed eyes are common.
Many autistic people are visually defensive. Visually defensive persons avoid contact with specific visual input and might have hypersensitive vision. They have difficulty with visually holding still and frequently rely on a constant scanning of visual information in an attempt to gain meaning.
Raising an autistic child?
How Do People On The Autism Spectrum See The World
During Autism Acceptance Month, we believe it is especially important to listen to the voices of autistic individuals.
There are many stories told from the perspective of parents, friends and medical professionals and those have a time and place but too often, autistic individuals stories are disregarded or drowned out. And when this happens, we lose an amazing and unique perspective.
So we reached out to autistic adults and asked, How do you see the world differently from neurotypical individuals? What do you want people to know about the strengths of your unique perspective?
These were their responses:
1. I see the world the way Zacchaeus in the Bible did when Jesus made his triumphant return to Jerusalem. While everyone else was crowding around the gates and along the path he was taking, pushing and shoving and so on, Zacchaeus decided to climb a tree and watch from there, out of harms way. It gave him a unique vantage point. Without intending to, he drew attention to himself and got mocked by the crowds for it, but Jesus befriended him. Basically, Jesus respected his unique point of view. Just because its different, doesnt mean its wrong. Susan E.
5. For many years the only way I could make sense of my different experience was having the belief that life was a play, and everyone but me had the script I was an experiment that offered some comfort as I saw everyone else managing things so easily that I struggled with. Katy K.
Getty image by Benjavisa
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About The Art Of Autism
The Art of Autism is a 501c3 nonprofit. We are an international collaboration of talented individuals who have come together to display the creative abilities of people on the autism spectrum and others who are neurodivergent. Our mission is to provide a forum to connect with those who wish to employ these abilities. The Art of Autism accepts many art forms, including blog posts, art, poetry, video submissions and requests for book and film reviews. We seek diverse viewpoints including those from autistic people, parents, siblings, therapists, and others. We look to partner with organizations with similar goals for awareness, acceptance, educational events and the provision of opportunities for our participants.
Who Can Do An Assessment
Developmental Paediatricians, Clinical Psychologists, and Psychiatrists can do assessments. It is important that the clinician you choose is experienced with autism.
If you are an adult, it is advisable to seek out a clinician who specialises in adult diagnosis. This is crucial if you are a woman, as autism tends to present differently in females and most standard assessment tools are based on typically male traits. An inexperienced clinician may not recognise the often more subtle signs presented by autistic women, which could result in a misdiagnosis.
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How People With Autism See The World: Gaze Of Those With The Condition Bypasses Faces To See Details Such As Colour And Contrast
- Study found people with autism were attracted to center of images
- Researchers confirmed those with disorder are less drawn to faces
- Results could eventually help doctors better diagnose and treat autism
14:06 EST, 23 October 2015 | Updated:
People with autism often describe the world as a confusing mass of faces, places and events.
Scientists say this can partly explain their difficulty socialising and communicating, as well as their restricted interests and repetitive behaviour.
But understanding the exact relationship between the perception and behaviour has, so far, proven difficult.
Now researchers say they have made a breakthrough in this area that could eventually help doctors better diagnose and treat various forms of the disorder.
Scroll down for video
People with autism spectrum disorder see the world differently. In this image, the left side is the attention pattern of a person with ASD, the right represents a control subject. The study found people with autism were strongly attracted to the centre of images, regardless of the content placed there
World Autism Awareness Week: Seeing The World Differently
8 April 2016
To celebrate World Autism Awareness Week, the IOE’s Centre for Research in Autism and Education has released the film, “Seeing the World Differently.”
The film explores sensory sensitivities and helps us understand what autism feels like by talking to pupils on the autism spectrum at the Hendon Autism Resourced Provision within Hendon School in north London. Robyn Steward, Autism and Asperger’s trainer, explains that autistic people can see the world differently through their senses, such as taste, smell, touch, sound and sight.
Sensory sensitivities can have a huge impact on an autistic individual’s everyday life. We discover how water from a shower can feel like “mini needles”, how unexpected loud sounds can “hurt” and that smooth or soft surfaces can have calming effects.
The video highlights the importance of learning about individual people. As Robyn says, “when you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum, you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum – everybody is different.”
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