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.
Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no ASD diagnostic criteria specifically for adults. But the current DSM-5 criteria can be adapted and used for this age group.
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 is no underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for an in-depth assessment.
Tips For Living With An Adult With Autism
Autism spectrum disorder is a type of intellectual and developmental disability in which the person faces challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and verbal and nonverbal communication. It is one of the most highlighted I/DDs that parents know about today, and fortunately, the social stigma on autism is lessening.
However, living with someone on the autism spectrum can be confusing for some. While parents commonly deal with raising a child on the spectrum, there arent many people who discuss its impacts during adulthood. Here are some tips for living with an adult with autism to help family members and caregivers.
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What Is Autism Definition And Statistical Overview
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder as many call it, is a neuro disorder that can trigger in early childhood or in some cases, is visible in adults too. In children, the first signs come forth as early as 12 18 months.
Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs social interaction. Its not a disease where people can catch it nor should it be hidden to the outside.
According to the statistics, it has been found that autism is more commonly observed in boys than girls . Even the World Health Organization report indicates that 1 in 68 children across the world suffers from ASD. Globally, nearly 70 million individuals suffer from autism, out of which 10 million alone are from the Indian subcontinent.
Housing And Community Living
Moving out of the family home is one of the biggest decisions in a persons life. For a person on the autism spectrum, finding and securing a house and caregiving supports can be complicated for you and your family. Autism Speaks can make this planning easier through tools and resources to guide you through the process. This Housing and Community Living section contains information you need to help you search for housing options and keep you informed.
As a first step, download our Transition Roadmap to Housing and Residential Supports to help you begin your journey. This roadmap is for you if you are:
- An autistic student planning for your future.
- A young adult with autism looking for more information about housing and support options available to you.
- A parent, family member or caregiver of a child with autism.
This personalized, interactive tool provides a series of goals and resources up to age 22 to help you get ready for independent housing. You can work through the roadmap at your own pace and choose the age and support level most meaningful to you.
Each goal in the roadmap includes key action steps, including:
- Practicing life skills at home and in the community
- Developing strategies for independent living
- Applying for Home and Community-based Services
- Researching low-income housing options
- Securing residential services and supports
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Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities in commercial facilities, transportation, public accommodations, and government services. Plus, Title I of the ADA requires employers with 15+ employees to provide reasonable accommodations and prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The U.S. Department of Labor Job Accommodation Network also provides accommodations specific to autism.
How To Motivate Autistic Adults
Almost one in eight children aged 2-10 years in India suffer from a neuro-disorder that can include autism too.
Autism is a word that a lot of people would not like to hear when it comes to their loved ones especially adults. Its a sensitive topic and sometimes they dont even like talking about it. They tend to be in denial and would say that their adult is just delayed or something of that nature when in all reality, your loved one is what he or she is and you have to do the one thing that you can do, research and help your family and yourself cope with it.
In this post, we will take you through what is autism, its symptoms and causes, how to help someone with autism, and multiple other segments around the topic.
So, without further ado, lets begin
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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.
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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This rate has more than doubled between 2000 and 2012, according to the network, which is a group of programs that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and tasked with estimating the number of children with autism and other developmental disabilities living in the United States.
Risk is not evenly spread throughout the population, though.
The disorder is about four times as common in males as in females, for example. And among infants who have an autistic sibling, the risk of developing the disorder may be as high as one in five, while the risk for infants without an affected sibling is just one in 100.
Prevalence also tends to be higher among non-Hispanic white children and among children of highly educated parents.
Supportive Living For Young Adults With Autism
Families struggle to find, or invent, good supported living options
When Susan Senators son Max was racing toward the high school finish line, he joined the rest of his classmates for the usual rites of passage. He took the ACT and applied to good schools, landing at New York Universitys prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
But things couldnt have been more different for Maxs brother, Nat. Senator, a blogger, memoir writer and novelist, had to take into account the fact that her profoundly autistic older son, while very competent when it comes to self-help skills like showering and dressing, is also limited verbally, cannot handle money and still doesnt look both ways when crossing the street.
In other words, she knew he needed a 24-hour caregiver to be safe. But because the infrastructure and services arent in place to create the type of living arrangement she wanted for Nat after he came of age, she joined the growing ranks of parents who are struggling to make short- and long-term provisions, often taking matters into their own hands.
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Signs Of Autism With Lower Support Needs In Adults
Most of the time, prominent symptoms of ASD are diagnosed in young children around toddler age.
If youre an adult who hasnt been diagnosed with autism, but you believe you may be on the spectrum, its possible that you may be considered autistic with lower support needs. In the past, this has been referred to as high-functioning autism.
Following are signs of autism in adults:
Unique Advantages Of Living With Asd
My gift of Asperger disorder gives me the ability to have what I call my laser focus. Its the ability to stay focused on a project for extreme periods of time with total focus and concentration. For example, once while in the emergency room for a broken wrist, the anesthesiologist who came to give me sedation started talking to me as we waited. He asked what I was studying in college, to which I replied nursing. He suggested I become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. My laser focus took over, and a year later after receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I was accepted at Columbia University in their Masters degree program for Nurse Anesthesia. I graduated, passed my Board exam, and have been working full time ever since!
People with ASD are also well-noted for having special interests. Ive had several special interests that have taken me to very lofty heights. The most spectacular one is getting a flight in an F-15 fighter jet. I saw the movie Top Gun for the first time in 1995, and by the end of the movie I decided I wanted a flight in a fighter jet. I spent the next 7 years working my way to becoming an internationally published military aviation photojournalist. On December 2, 2006, my dream was realized. I received a flight in an F-15 Strike Eagle! It was the most thrilling moment of my life!
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Keep Social Life Simple
Like a lot of people on the autism spectrum, my brother is very smart. But he understands life in a completely differentyet fascinatingway. Despite his intelligence, like many people on the spectrum he has a hard time reading social cues and can find social situations challenging. In this case, my family has learned to slow down his interactions with others, keep things simple, and allow him breaks when hes feeling overwhelmed.
How Medical Professionals Diagnose Adult Asd
If you start with your primary care physician, theyll review your concerns and refer you to a specialist. This specialist will then perform a thorough evaluation that includes behavior checklists, symptom self-reporting, and direct observations.
Theyll also speak with your parents, siblings, and significant other to gain a holistic picture of your lifelong behavior patterns. Once the evaluation is complete, youll meet with the specialist to review your results and explore treatment options.
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Make Your Autistic Loved Ones Life Easier
If your friend or partner is autistic, there are many ways you can offer support without resorting to nagging or micro-managing.
Maintain consistency. Some autistic people have difficulty adapting to sudden changes. Consistency gives them a sense of peace and security. If thats the case for your loved one, minimize unwanted surprises by keeping them updated on changes. If you plan to rearrange the living room, for example, ask for their input first.
Adapt your living space for sensory issues. Simple additions to your home, such as softer lighting and noise-canceling headphones can help reduce discomfort. Timers can help an autistic person stay on task if they have a tendency to lose track of time.
Meditate together. Theres some evidence that mindfulness can reduce anxiety and increase sensory regulation. Encourage your partner to join you in a daily meditation practice.
Additional Autism Housing Resources
The following autism housing resources are intended to support your loved ones as you embark on this exciting journey. This list is in no way inclusive, which is why you should also seek the assistance of any local groups or organizations that you have worked within the past.
As you continue to plan for the future, remain mindful of the following resources:
- National Association of Residential Providers for Adults with Autism This organization works to assure the availability of residential and other supports for individuals with autism.
- Autism Housing Network This organization brings together the best ideas in housing for adults with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities.
- Hello Housing This organization develops affordable housing for underserved communities.
- Autism Speaks Being the largest advocacy organization in the United States, Autism Speaks offers a wide range of resources, including a housing and residential supports tool kit.
For those who reside in Utah, the Adult Autism Center Of Lifetime Learning is available to answer your questions about housing for adults with autism, in addition to providing ongoing education and support. Learn more about our programs today!
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How To Work With Someone With Autism
Therapies for autism spectrum disorder aim to reduce the abnormal behavior that is exhibited by people who are affected by this condition. Furthermore, people who are living with individuals with autism spectrum disorder have to play their part. You dont have to be an expert to be able to do this. It is essential that you know what you need to do and what you need to avoid.
To ensure your conversations goes as smooth as possible, you can use the following guidelines:
- Address them as an adult, not a child
Never assume that the individual has limited cognitive skills. He/she may be slow in verbal conversations, but his/her ability to comprehend the contents of the conversation might not be. Hence, exercise necessary caution.
- Avoid familiar and personal words/phrases
Too adorable and sweet words like honey, cutie can backfire and sound disrespectful to someone whos trying to be independent.
- Follow a direct approach while communicating
You must ensure that youre interacting clearly with autistic adults. Sarcastic tone or slang must be avoided as they can confuse the individual.
- Create a consistency, a schedule and stick to it
Support from family and friends is essential for any person with autism to live a life that is as normal as possible. Some of them may even be able to excel in particular fields that they have chosen to be in.
Many People With Autism Do Hold Jobs And Enter The Workforce
Wherever you fall on the autism spectrum, entering the workforce can pose many difficulties, including struggles with employers and the ability to handle tasks that fall beyond previously comfortable routines, and more.
It can be a real challenge for people with autism who need to adjust to a work environment. Now, youre dealing with coworkers and have to get along with employers who just might not even understand what it means to have autism, Frazier says. A boss might not understand that at all, or be able to know how to respond in the right way.
Unfortunately such challenges can lead to unemployment and underemployment for people with autism even though these individuals are able to work. And research shows it clearly has. In February 2018, the unemployment rate for people who have disabilities was 8.6 percent compared with 4.2 for people with no disabilities.
It can be incredibly stressful for these people with autism who might be fine with the physical demands of a job stocking shelves in a grocery store, for example, but who may find it nearly impossible to interact with a customer who asks a question about where something is located, for instance, Veenstra-Vanderweele adds. The stress and fear alone of being in this kind of environment could discourage a person from seeking a job in the first place.
Some resources that help individuals with autism find and succeed in jobs that are appropriate for them include:
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How Are Autistic Adults Impacted When Their Parents Die
Everyones situation differs, but research shows that people on the autism spectrum often have a hard time transitioning into adulthood. When special education services end after high school, autistic young adults without an intellectual disability may not qualify for more services. Difficulty getting a job or going to college means that many continue to live with their parents into adulthood.
A 2015 report by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute found that 87% of adults with autism lived with their parents during their early 20s, compared to 21% of the general population. Approximately one in four were socially isolated, meaning they never talked with friends or were invited to events within the past year. Unfortunately, too many people with autism have small or nonexistent support systems outside their family.
Furthermore, employment rates for autistic young adults are low. Only about 58% hold a job in their early 20s, while 95% of people with a learning disability do. These rates improve further out from high schoolsix to eight years afterward, 93% will have had a job at least oncebut the majority of these jobs are part-time and/or with low wages.
All in all, a variety of factors make it hard for some autistic adults to support themselves and live independently. When their parents die, this can leave them struggling with poverty, homelessness, or an early death.