Sunday, February 25, 2024

How To Help Autistic Adults

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What its like to live as an adult with autism | Your Morning

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 neurotypical adult.

Living Arrangements For Autistic Adults

Many autistic adults live independently in their own home or apartment.

Other autistic adults live semi-independently they might only need support in certain areas, such as communication with government agencies or paying bills. A professional agency, family member, or another type of helper might provide this support.

Some other common living situations for autistic adults include:

  • Living at home. In some cases, government funds are available for autistic adults living at home. You can learn more about these programs on the Social Security Administrations website.
  • Foster homes and skill-development homes. Some families provide long-term care to autistic adults. Skill-development homes may also teach self-care and housekeeping skills as well as plan activities.
  • Supervised group living. Group homes provide a structured environment for autistic adults. They can provide different levels of support based on each persons needs.
  • Long-term care facilities. These facilities usually benefit autistic adults who need a more intensive level of support and care.

Teenagers Autism & Depression

Adolescent autistic children may require extra attention from parents and therapy providers. The social pressures and increased changes that come with transitioning into adulthood can potentially raise the risk for depressive and suicidal ideations. This population is at an especially high risk for depression.

Children on the autism spectrum who are entering adolescence are also becoming more aware of their differences from their peers, and they can start to feel even more isolated. Academic pressures and challenges often increase during this time as well.

Change is hard for someone with autism. Puberty, along with the turbulence of high school and beyond, can present even more drastic life and personal shifts. While adolescence and the teen years can be tough for everyone, the difficulties are more pronounced for people with autism.

Keep the lines of communication open with your childâs teachers to ensure that you are aware of any possible red flags. Continue dialogue with your child as much as possible and help them to focus on positive thoughts and relationships â what they can do versus what may be more difficult for them. Social skills training can help an autistic teenager to better manage transitions, social pressures, and academic expectations.

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Difficulty With Verbal Communication

A child with HFA will typically have no problems understanding language. Learning individual words, grammar rules, and vocabulary may not be an issue for them.

The use of language to communicate, however, can be problematic. Someone with HFA may have difficulty understanding sarcasm, metaphors, or idioms. This is known as pragmatic language.

In addition, some people with HFA may struggle to speak when under stress or overwhelmed.

Day Programs For Young Adults Who Remain At Home

How Occupational Therapists Can Help People With Autism

Easterseals offers day programs for people with autism so they can enjoy socialization and recreational opportunities and participate in the community. While people with autism who participate in Easterseals day programs might need some supervision, they need only minimal assistance with activities of daily living.

Also Check: Can Lack Of Oxygen Cause Autism

Variability In Adults With Autism

Not all adults with autism are alike.

  • Some adults with autism have successful careers in demanding fields such as information technology, robotics, and video game production.
  • Some work part-time while also taking advantage of day programs and resources.
  • Some are unable to function in the workplace and spend their days in sheltered settings.
  • Some adults on the spectrum are happily married or partnered.
  • Others have romantic friendships.
  • Some are unable to form meaningful, reciprocal relationships with peers.

These vast differences make it just as tough to define or provide services for adults with autism as for children on the spectrum.

Societal Expectations And Conformity

Participants shared their experiences and pressure felt related to conforming to societal expectations. Three concepts were generated from this theme: societal attitudes towards adults with ASD, inaccurate generalisation of abilities, and the need for inclusion and graded expectations.

Societal Attitudes Towards Adults with ASD

Participants discussed how adults with ASD were often the target of biases and negative attitudes. Participants noted that society often holds negative perceptions of adults with ASD. For instance, Tara , stated:

Sometimes people just make assumptions, like they think that you’re being rude. Or maybe they think you are being lazy something, but you are not. And they don’t understand. They don’t understand you, and that makes it really hard.

From Taras experiences, members of society sometimes fail to understand why people with ASD act the way that they do and hold negative assumptions about adults with ASD. Similarly, Suzy said, autistic people feel like they’re bad people because they never knew they were autistic and society taught them they were bad. This suggests the inherent role of societal perception on how ASD symptoms may be attributed. Sacha, a service provider for adults with ASD also stated:

This statement showcases how adults with ASD may be judged for expressing themselves in unconventional ways and how this can result in them feeling unsafe. Jack also said:

Inaccurate Generalization of Abilities

Recommended Reading: How To Handle A Toddler With Autism

Fifty Ways To Help Autistic People

So thats it for this year!

Oh wait, no its not. Autism exist for the rest of the year too, so I will be joining the wider autism community in advocating to improve the lives of autistic people wherever we can.

To those who want more, feel free to join us on . And since writing for Autistic Not Weird is now literally my job, take a look at whats available on heres my Patreon page for those we feel able to support my work .

Take care,

Pointers To Help Autistic People If They Get Off Topic Or Spend Too Much Time On A Topic:

Working with people with autism: the professionals

Gentle nudge or prompt to get back on topic such as, What were we talking about again? Or redirect them by bringing up the topic you were originally discussing like, Where should we go for lunch? It sounds like you love Chinese food, how about XYZ place at 11:45 am?

So to summarize, our next steps are XYZ, your part will be this and it will be due by x date. Does that seem to cover what we discussed?

In a kind yet concrete way, say, I hear you really like talking about dinosaurs, but I am not really interested in that and dont want to talk about it anymore, can we talk about something we are both interested in? Then suggest something that you have in common or could such as favorite movies or food.

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Why People With Autism Have Difficulty With Conversation

Lots of training and practice can certain improve fluency and skill. But very few people on the spectrum become so fluent in conversation that they sound and appear absolutely typical. There are also some issues that can actually be caused by social skills training. Here are some of the challenges autistic conversationalists face:

  • Quite a few people on the spectrum don’t process language as rapidly as typical peers. As a result, they may take longer to make sense of a statement, craft an appropriate response, and then say what’s on their mind. Most typical conversation moves rapidly, and thus people on the spectrum are often left behind.
  • Most people on the spectrum have difficulty with separating sarcasm and humor from statements of fact. Abstract ideas and idioms are also tricky. As a result, they are likely to respond inappropriatelyunless the speaker is careful to explain his or her meaning or intent.
  • People with autism often speak with a different rhythm, prosody, and/or volume than typical peers. Thus, even if the words themselves are appropriate, they may sound flat, loud, soft, or otherwise different.
  • In some cases, people with autism repeat themselves more often than their typical peers. So a perfectly reasonable question can turn into a refrain when the question is asked over and over again in exactly the same way, with precisely the same intonation.
  • Family Members/caregivers Of Autistic Adults

    Hare et al. interviewed families of 26 autistic adults, and found parental emotional distress was prominent and directly associated with unmet need of the autistic family member. One of the unmet needs identified by family members was the capability to plan for their relatives future and the majority of participants expressed concern about the future for their autistic relative, due to the lack of service provision. Krauss et al. explored the positive and negative experiences of mothers of autistic adults. They directly compared those who lived in the family home versus those in residential care. Those whose relative lived with them in the family home reported experiencing daily stress, whereas for those whose relative was in residential care, family members reported worry and concern about their relatives needs being met, as well as guilt that they were no longer caring for them. Bitsika and Sharpley report two-thirds of parents of autistic children in their sample were clinically depressed, further reinforcing the mental health needs of family members of autistic individuals.

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    Who Can Make A Diagnosis

    Many autism centers are primarily child-focused, so as you age out of them and move into adulthood especially if you have deficits that werent caught as a child finding support can become a huge issue, Dr. Ferrari says.

    Try finding an adult psychiatrist or psychologist in your area who works with people who have autism. But if you cant find one , Dr. Ferrari recommends reaching out to a pediatric psychiatrist or psychologist to ask if theyre comfortable assessing for and diagnosing ASD in adults.

    Most Autistic Adults Are Underemployed

    Tips on Communicating with Autistic Individuals

    Fewer than half of autistic adults are employed. Of those, many have only part-time jobs or are doing work for which theyre overqualified.

    There are also many autistic people working as volunteers or in programs outside the mainstream.

    Here are a few key reasons why autistic adults end up in these positions:

    • Low expectations: Few schoolsand sometimes even familiesexpect autistic children to find satisfying careers. The exception is if they happen to have extraordinary skills. However, the lowered expectations for most autistic children can be destructive to their self-confidence.
    • Competition and challenges: To get a job in the general community, autistic people have to compete for positions. That can be hard for people with compromised social communication skills. These challenges can hamper their performance in job interviews and make it hard for them to engage successfully with co-workers. Some autistic adults also find it hard to manage the physical requirements of the workplace, especially if they have sensitivities to light, sound, and other stimuli that they might not have any control over in these settings.
    • Lack of programs: Most workplace programs for disabled adults were not developed with autism in mind. Rather, they were intended to work for people with intellectual or physical disabilities.

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    Varied Availability Of Services

    Adults with autism are often legally entitled to nothing, but are likely to receive at least some level of support. If you live in some states, you’ll have little trouble accessing services and funding for adults with autism. But if you live in other states, you may find that there is limited support.

    Some states that offer the least generous programs and services include:

    • New Mexico

    Among the more generous states are:

    • California
    • Colorado
    • Wisconsin

    Of course, the definition of “services and funding” varies depending upon need. For example, Medicaid doesn’t provide vocational training or supportservices that would be particularly useful to higher functioning adults.

    Medicaid may or may not be a source of funding for housing, day programs, and other services.

    One excellent, updated source of information about state-by-state offerings is Easterseals. While they do focus quite a bit on children, they also include a wide range of detailed information about resources and services for all ages.

    Working With Children With Autism

    The challenges that come with working with autism require some insight. To increase the learning potential of children with autism, you need to understand them.

    Find out how they learn best Every child has a different inclination when it comes to learning techniques. Most kids with autism respond well to visual cues. Using visual aids to teach various concepts can help in motivating autistic students to become better learners.

    Create a suitable learning environment When interacting with autistics students, ensure that the surroundings are free of any distractions. A quiet environment free of any sensory stimulus can help them concentrate and learn better.

    Become an expert on themBe mindful of what triggers them and what comforts them. This can help you create a sense of comfort between you that can be helpful in difficult situations.

    Celebrate small successes If you are wondering how to work with children with autism, the first step is acceptance. Instead of fixating on how the child is different from others, accept their quirks. Celebrate all success, no matter how small.

    Engage with them Play therapy technique is very effective with autistic children. In this, you gain their attention by doing what they do. This will help you get closer to them, and they will pay more attention to you once you have engaged them in a common activity.

    Dont give up The journey is going to be different for everyone. You have to be as patient and as supportive as you can.

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    Community Support And Housing

    You may be able to live independently or need occasional or full-time support to help you with household tasks and to get out and about in your local community.

    This support can be accessed through your local social services. You have a right to an assessment of your supportrequirements if you have an apparent need.

    You should contact your local social services , social work department or Health and Social Care Trust to ask for anassessment of your needs.

    How To Get Adults With Autism To Socialize

    Working with people with autism: the autistic perspective

    Making friends and maintaining meaningful relationships can be difficult for anyone. However, for those living with autism, social situations are often extremely overwhelming and difficult, leading to feelings of social isolation. The barriers individuals with autism face are unique and typically require specialized support.

    Both children and adults with autism often need help when learning how to interact with others in different types of social situations. Working on these social skills for adults with autism can encourage greater participation within the community. This can lead to more meaningful opportunities and relationships, as well as a greater quality of life.

    If you have been diagnosed with autism, you do not need to feel alone or isolated. There is support available to help you develop new friendships that can turn into long-term, fulfilling relationships.

    As long as you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can develop critical skills and meaningful relationships.

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    What Is Social Interaction In Autism

    For many individuals, social interaction is effortless. However, for those with autism, social disconnection is common.

    Individuals with autism often find communicating and engaging with others hard.This challenge can create adults with autism to avoid participating in social gatherings. However, the severity of these challenges ranges from one individual to the next, and varies depending on how comfortable one may be with communicating amongst others. There are a few citations that adults with autism may experience in social interactions.

    The majority of adults with autism will experience difficulty with:

    • Social interaction with others
    • Starting interactions, as well as responding to others
    • Understanding the perspectives of others
    • Taking part in everyday social events

    An estimated40% of people with autism are also nonverbal, which is why they rely on gestures, reaching, using pictures, and other forms of communication. Again, this can make life challenging as individuals age into adulthood.

    Learn More About Autistic Adult Treatments

    Need any personalized support about how to help an autistic adult? Connect with our well-trained specialists who can help you with the right information, resources, and tools to help autistic adults cope with their daily activities. Reach us at our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949 or mail us at for more information about treatment options or any other queries .

    Disclaimer: Please note that terms like autistic adult or autistic child should be avoided. These words may cause autism to define the person. Instead, phrases like child/person with autism should be used. Autism is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD to better explain the range of symptoms it can cause and to include sub-types like Aspergers and pervasive developmental disorders.

    Recommended Reading: Can A Therapist Diagnose Autism

    Reflections From Autistic People

    “I recently met a lot of autistic people at an advocacy group I attended last night. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could be myself and that people would understand me and not judge me for being autistic. I was in good company!” ~ Ernie

    “Autistic people should reach out to each other for friendship and support. You never know who you will meet that you might end up having a lot in common with.” ~ Alice

    “I’ve been around autistic people all of my life. But I did not realize that I was autistic too until I was diagnosed in adulthood . I had always known there was something different about me, as I always felt that I was from another planet. I had joined an autism-focused Listserv shortly before my diagnosis. And that is where I met one of my friends. Like me, she is autistic. Over the years we have had many deep conversations about autism and about being autistic, from what it was like growing up to defining ourselves in the here and now. It brings happy tears to my eyes to admit that it is my autistic friend who helped me to find myself and who helped me to explore and understand myself, my needs, and my relationship to the world.” ~ Jemma

    “Autistic people ROCK!” ~ Kramer

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