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Mild Autistic Traits In Adults

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Can You Be A Little Bit Autistic

Common Autistic Traits In Adults – World Autism Awareness Week 2020

It is not uncommon for people to ascribe certain behaviors or moods to medical conditions or suggest that they are driven by a diagnosable psychological disorder. Examples might include:

  • Oh, I know Im picky. Im just a little obsessive-compulsive.
  • Yes, Im moody. I guess Im sort of bipolar.
  • Im in a crappy mood. I think Im depressed.

All of these statements, which are used all the time, equate a passing mood or mild preference with a major mental illness.

But of course, picky eating is a far cry from obsessive-compulsive disorder , which can make it impossible to fulfill the demands of daily life. And, a passing feeling of unhappiness or moodiness cant be compared in any meaningful way to the extreme challenges of bipolar disorder or clinical depression.

Some people may truly believe that spending 20 minutes choosing a color scheme for a party is akin to true OCD, or that a rotten mood is the same thing as major depression.

Others know better but will still use these terms as a colorful way to describe a passing emotion or a behavior thats not quite appropriate. This has extended to behaviors that some have haphazardly labeled as autistic or being on the spectrum.

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.

Why Does A Diagnosis Matter

Its easy to confuse the word mild with the word ignorable. If someones troubles dont automatically qualify them for a formal autism spectrum disorder diagnosis from every doctor out there, why bother?

Its true that people must demonstrate difficulties with everyday functioning to merit an ASD diagnosis. But even people with cases doctors consider mild have very real difficulties.

Researchers say people with mild, but recognizable, autism cant always form close relationships. As they age, theyre likely to deal with mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety.

Its reasonable to believe that people with a low level of autism, even if doctors dont recognize it, would also struggle.

First-person accounts describe days in which they try very hard to both fit in with the world around them and control their impulses so others will accept them. They describe feeling misunderstood, angry, and isolated. These feelings are real and they matter.

Knowing that you fit an autism phenotype could even help you protect your health later in life. Researchers say, for example, that people with ASD tend to develop signs of dementia earlier than people without ASD. If youre at risk, you could work with your doctor on techniques to preserve your mental acuity.

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Success In Autistic Adults

Some adults with diagnosed autism are moderately to highly successful people. Some are happily married and partnered, and many are fully employed.

Some have even become role models for young adults on the spectrum who hope to live full, independent lives. Just a few such role models include:

  • Temple Grandin, animal husbandry expert, author, and public speaker
  • Stephen Shore, author, musician, professor, public speaker
  • John Elder Robison, author, and public speaker
  • Dan Ackroyd, actor, singer, radio personality
  • Daryl Hannah, actor

These individuals, in addition to some others, are active autism advocates. Many speak publicly about their experiences and offer resources and insights to autistic adults and their family members.

Autism Symptoms In Adults At Work

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Symptoms of ASD vary greatly from person to person based on the severity of the condition. These or similar manifestations of ASD may be apparent at work:

  • When youre having a conversation with your boss, you prefer to look at the wall, her shoes, or anywhere but directly into her eyes.
  • Your co-workers say that you speak like a robot.
  • Each item on your desk has a special place, and you dont like when the cleaning company rearranges it to dust.
  • You are really good at math, or software coding, but struggle to succeed in other areas.
  • You talk to your co-workers the same way you talk with your family and friends.
  • During meetings, you find yourself making involuntary noises, like clearing your throat over and over.
  • When talking with your boss, you have difficulty telling if he is happy with your performance or mad at you.

In addition, autistic individuals may exhibit extraordinary talents in visual skills, music, math, and art. And roughly 40 percent of autistic individuals have average or above-average intelligence.

If you experience these or similar symptoms of ASD, consult a doctor or mental-health professional for a formal autism evaluation and learn more about treatment options for autism symptoms in adults.

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A Spectrum Of Symptoms

Its important to note that theres a reason that ASD falls along a spectrum. Someone might receive an autism diagnosis but fall within a broad range of symptoms.

For instance, they might be considered to have level one autism. That means they have the capacity to be much more independent than someone who has a level three diagnosis, which requires a lot more support and treatment.

Thus, its critical to understand that there isnt a one-size-fits-all approach to autism. Each individual needs a thorough evaluation and receive a treatment plan specific to their needs. Its especially important that family members understand the scope of autism symptoms.

Causes And Risk Factors

Researchers dont know the primary causes of ASD, but studies suggest that a persons genes can act together with aspects of their environment to affect development in ways that lead to ASD. Some factors that are associated with an increased likelihood of developing ASD include:

  • Having a sibling with ASD
  • Having older parents
  • Having certain genetic conditions
  • Having a very low birth weight

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Disrespectful Behavior Caused By Literal Thinking

Another autism behavior is literal thinking and fact consideration based upon their literal understanding.

You may have heard a conversation like this:

What do you mean we cant afford it? Go to the ATM and get the money! Oh, you dont have enough money in the bank? Then work more or tell your boss to pay you more!

They arent being ungrateful or disrespectful. Its simply how they view things due to their diagnosis.

Literal understanding:

A simple example would be the teacher telling the class to write your name at the top of the paper.

When your kiddo writes your name, they arent being sarcastic. Their literal thinking led to fact consideration based on their literal understanding. The teacher said Write your name

Heres a more complex, real life example.

John doesnt get along with one of his classmates. They get into an argument in class and both get sent to the principals office.

While in front of the principal, John calls the fellow student a stupid idiot. When the principal asks John why he said that, John replies, My mom told me to never lie.

He was simply telling the truth as he saw it. This is autism.

Mild Autism In Adults

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Symptoms of mild autism in adults are more or less similar to those found in case of children. This article will give you detailed information on autism in adults.

Symptoms of mild autism in adults are more or less similar to those found in case of children. This article will give you detailed information on autism in adults.

If you have watched movies like Mozart and the Whale or My Name is Khan, you must be having some idea on what autism is. Well, you may argue that the disorder shown in both the movies is the Aspergers syndrome. This is true, but, Aspergers syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, that is found in adults. It should be noted that autism develops in childhood and never in adulthood. Therefore, even if symptoms of autism are found in adults, they have always had the disorder since childhood. There are several peculiar signs and symptoms which help in identifying mild autism in adults. Here we will take a look at the symptoms and treatment methods for autism.

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Restrictive / Repetitive Behaviors May Include:

  • Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
  • Having a lasting intense interest in specific topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
  • Showing overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
  • Becoming upset by slight changes in a routine and having difficulty with transitions
  • Being more sensitive or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, sound, clothing, or temperature

People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability.

People on the autism spectrum also may have many strengths, including:

  • Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time
  • Being strong visual and auditory learners
  • Excelling in math, science, music, or art

What Is Aspergers Syndrome

Aspergers and autism can mean many different things depending on the person. Generally speaking, the kind of mild autism that used to be called Aspergers affects communication and behavior. People with mild autism often have difficulty with social interactions because it is hard for them to communicate with other people.

Though people with Aspergers may find conversations to be hard or frustrating, they generally have average to high intelligence and strong verbal skills. They tend to engage in repetitive behavior and may have trouble understanding complicated feelings, gestures, or sarcasm.

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Defining The Broad Autism Phenotype

What exactly is the BAP and how many parents and siblings of people with autism have it? Where are the lines that separate having a few mild personality quirks from having the Broader Autism Phenotype? That separate the BAP from having autism spectrum disorder itself?

Unfortunately, there are no bright lines, or easy answers. On one hand, some parents have recognized a kinship with their child with autism and sought an ASD diagnosis for themselves, according to anecdote. Milder forms of autism, such as Aspergers Syndrome, may not have been recognized by doctors or teachers when they were children. On the other hand, most studies show that at least half of the relatives of someone with autism do not have measurable impairments in their social and communication skills or behavior.8, 9

What about those relatives who fall in between? Different studies have that shown that some parents or siblings have mildly impaired language and conversational skills, planning and memory skills, or social skills and relationships. Exactly how many of these mild impairments, or traits, do they need to have the Broader Autism Phenotype? Thats hard to say. For one thing, BAP is not a diagnosis. Your doctor wont find it in the psychiatric diagnosis manual. Its a research construct something used by scientists to identify a personality type when they investigate autism, said Sarika U. Peters Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

What Is Mild Autism

Severe Autism Symptoms and Challenges

Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference that may manifest as difficulty communicating, socializing, and behaving in a way that meets neurotypical expectations.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition , conceptualizes autism as a spectrum, in which people with low support needs are considered to be mildly autistic and those with high support needs as severe.

Mild autism is also sometimes referred to as high-functioning autism.

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Signs Of Autism Vs Adhd In Adults

Below are specific behaviors adapted from the diagnostic symptoms of autism and ADHD according to the DSM-5.

  • Challenges taking turns in a conversation
  • Monopolizing conversation with ones own interests or thoughts
  • Difficulty making interpersonal connections
  • Hyperfocus on a specific topic or interest
  • Abnormalities in eye contact and body language
  • Not picking up on body language and facial cues of others
  • Literal interpretation of language
  • Inability to see the perspective of others
  • Misperception of language or social situations
  • Challenges with adjusting behaviors to match different social contexts
  • Frustration and anxiety over unexpected changes in routines and schedules
  • Extreme rigidity
  • Socially awkward, not fitting in with any social circles
  • Difficulties with completing everyday life activities independently
  • Challenges with accepting feedback or corrections
  • Lack of motivation to engage with others

Behavioral Psychological And Educational Interventions

People with ASD may be referred to a health care provider who specializes in providing behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs are typically highly structured and intensive, and they may involve caregivers, siblings, and other family members. These programs may help people with ASD:

  • Learn social, communication, and language skills
  • Reduce behaviors that interfere with daily functioning
  • Increase or build upon strengths
  • Learn life skills necessary for living independently

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Diagnosis In Older Children And Adolescents

Caregivers and teachers are often the first to recognize ASD symptoms in older children and adolescents who attend school. The schools special education team may perform an initial evaluation and then recommend that a child undergo additional evaluation with their primary health care provider or a health care provider who specialize in ASD.

A childs caregivers may talk with these health care providers about their childs social difficulties, including problems with subtle communication. These subtle communication differences may include problems understanding tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language. Older children and adolescents may have trouble understanding figures of speech, humor, or sarcasm. They also may have trouble forming friendships with peers.

The Difference Between Classic Autism And Mild Autism

What Does Adult Autism Look Like?

The difference between classic autism and mild autism is that those with a milder form usually have normal language and intellectual development. Some even have above average language and intellect.

The other difference is that people with classic autism refrain from engaging in social situations, but mildly autistic people will seek social activities and want make friends with others. The challenge is that they just may not know how to do it.

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Autism Symptoms In Adults

Classic symptoms of autism in children are not always present in adults on the spectrum, especially in those underdiagnosed as children . Adults on the spectrum commonly exhibit symptoms related to social and communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, sensory processing difficulties, and issues with executive function and theory of mind. Short descriptions and lists of common symptoms in adults are listed below .

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 receive screening for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits, with specific autism screenings at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. A child may receive additional screening if they are at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Children at high risk include those who have a family member with ASD, show some behaviors that are typical of ASD, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who had a very low birth weight.

Considering caregivers experiences and concerns is an important part of the screening process for young children. The health care provider may ask questions about the childs behaviors and evaluate those answers in combination with information from ASD screening tools and clinical observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

If a child shows developmental differences in behavior or functioning during this screening process, the health care provider may refer the child for additional evaluation.

Stage 2: Additional Diagnostic Evaluation

The diagnostic evaluation is likely to include:

  • Blood tests

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Is There A Test For Adult Autism

There are no medical tests for ASD, no matter your age. This means that ASD cant be detected using methods like blood tests or imaging tests.

Instead, a doctor will review behaviors to make an ASD diagnosis. For adults, this usually means an in-person visit where the doctor asks questions and evaluates how you respond. They will also consider self-reported symptoms.

Many psychologists use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition , a diagnostic assessment when assessing adults.

Self-administered ASD questionnaires for adults are available online. These tests include the Autism Spectrum Quotient and derivatives like the AQ-10, AQ-20, and AQ-S, among others. These tests are not the same as a professional evaluation and should not be viewed as definitive.

Treatment And Support For Mild Autism

Autism Symptoms

Autistic people might benefit from talk therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

Although Applied Behavior Analysis is sometimes thought of as a gold standard of autism treatment, the autistic community has raised concerns that this treatment can be abusive and traumatic.

Autistic individuals with low support needs might be able to live independently and work, but they might attend individual therapy to cope with stress and any comorbid diagnoses they might have.

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