Autism Parent Memoirs: Illuminating Or Exploitive
8. Emotional regulation issues and meltdowns. Women with autism often have problems with emotional regulation. Research has shown that there is a poor connection between the frontal cortex and the amygdala in people with autism.4 Put simply, the amygdala can be thought of as an emotion centre in our brain, as it’s part of our limbic system and our mammalian brain. The frontal cortex can be thought of as our thinking brain, the more rational part of our brain which makes judgments.
Because of the poor connection between the two areas, women with autism may find it hard to rationalise situations and stay in control. Many describe having meltdowns: extreme emotional reactions to situations that might result in losing their temper, crying, or going into shutdown mode.
9. Stimming. Stimming refers to repetitive behaviours. The most obvious behaviours we associate with autism are rocking, hand flapping, repetition of words or phrases, and rocking or spinning. However, women with autism may display other stimming behaviours such as skin picking, feet rubbing, pacing, or hair twirling. People with autism tend to stim more than other people and may not be aware of their behaviours. It is thought that stimming is a self-regulation tool.
Anyone who identified with the above symptoms should seek out professional help. Autism displays similar symptoms to other conditions and a formal diagnosis can help establish whether or not autism may be at play.
Autism In Adults: Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
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What is autism in adults? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about autism. This can make it difficult for people to understand what autism is. Sometimes autism can be mistaken for ADHD.
In this article, well discuss the signs of adult autism. We will talk about how to figure out if someone has autism, and what they can do after they are diagnosed.
Well also talk about how autistic adults behave at home and at work. There are different types of autism, one of those is high functioning autism. You can use our checklist to see if your loved one has this type of autism or not.
Signs And Characteristics Checklist
If youre reading this page, you may be thinking that you, your partner, or someone you know or love is showing some of the signs or characteristics of autism.
These signs cover a range of human behaviour from social communication and social interaction, to restricted, repetitive and sensory processing.
Note that the information below is just a list of some of the common signs and characteristics of autism.
It is unlikely that an adult will display all of these characteristics, and its important to remember, only a qualified professional can carry out an assessment for autism.
Some of the characteristics that adults with an autism diagnosis commonly report, include:
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Restrictive / Repetitive Behaviors May Include:
- Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia
- Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
- Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
- Getting upset by slight changes in a routine
- Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature
People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability. Although people with ASD experience many challenges, they may also 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
Social Communication / Interaction Behaviors May Include:
- Making little or inconsistent eye contact
- Tending not to look at or listen to people
- Rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities by pointing or showing things to others
- Failing to, or being slow to, respond to someone calling their name or to other verbal attempts to gain attention
- Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
- Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond
- Having facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said
- Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like
- Having trouble understanding another persons point of view or being unable to predict or understand other peoples actions
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Difficulty Communicating And Awkward Communication
ASD can have a big impact on the development of your social skills. As a result, you may find some aspects of communication challenges.
Signs that someone is finding it difficult to communicate include:
- Difficulty reading social cues and participating in conversations
- Difficulty empathizing with other peoples thoughts and feelings
- Struggling to read peoples body language or facial expressions
- Using a flat, robotic, or monotone tone of voice that doesnt communicate feelings accurately
- Making up descriptive words or phrases
- Difficulty understanding particular phrases or metaphors
- Difficulty making or maintaining eye contact
Often, if you have high-functioning autism, you will be able to hold a conversation about topics that youre particularly interested in. However, you may find it difficult to switch topics suddenly or to keep up with spontaneous changes in conversation.
This can mean that you find it difficult to build and maintain friendships. That said, you may have some close long-term friendships that accommodate your communication needs. You will generally find it easier to communicate with people you have known for a long time and therefore understand better.
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
Development Of Repetitive Or Restrictive Habits
Repetitive habits are another sign of high-functioning autism. Those habits could interfere with the persons ability to do what they need to do or what others want them to do. One type of repetitive habit might be related to movement. The individual might have to tie and untie their shoes multiple times before they are satisfied and are able to start walking or leave the house. Some people develop restrictive habits that interfere with socially accepted living. For example, an individual might refuse to wear any other kind of shirt than a tee shirt. This could impact their health and well-being if they live in a place with cold weather.
How Is Asd Diagnosed
There is no simple medical test for diagnosing ASD.
To diagnose a child with ASD, a healthcare professional observes the childs levels of:
This could include the childs:
- verbal skills
- how they relate to others
- behaviours related to their interests and activities
- repeated actions related to how they speak, move or use objects
To determine the severity of ASD, the healthcare professional observes the amount of difficulty the child has with:
- social communication
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders to evaluate ASD.
If a health care provider thinks that your child may have ASD, get a referral for a diagnosis. A specialist will create a detailed description of your child’s strengths and challenges. A team of health professionals may work together for this assessment.
Testing for ASD will also make sure that this is not a different condition. For instance, sometimes hearing loss can explain your childs unresponsiveness in social situations or when their name is called.
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Autism Signs And Symptoms Checklist For Adults
I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.
If youre here, you probably found this post on Google looking for Signs of autism in adults. If youre wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope youll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why Ive always felt different. I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.
In the meantime, if youve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.
Living With Adult Autism Tip : Improve Communication And Relationships
If other people have a hard time reading and understanding youand you themyoull likely have difficulty with relationships. But you can still find ways to nurture a healthy social life.
Consider disclosing your diagnosis. Talking about your diagnosis can be difficult and the social stigma attached to ASD may make you shy away from doing so. While disclosure is entirely up to you and your comfort level, it may help improve some relationships. Letting close friends and family know about your diagnosis can help them understand why you have a hard time interpreting their sarcastic comments, for example, or why youre distressed by sounds that seem normal to everyone else.
Note when youre experiencing sensory overload. Perhaps you find it difficult to keep up with everything thats going on in an intense group conversation. Or maybe something as simple as loud traffic or a barking dog is bothering you. Do what you can to minimize distractions. This might involve switching rooms or leaving a larger group for a one-on-one chat.
Look for common ground with the person youre talking to. Establishing commonalities can lead to more relaxed and enjoyable conversations. If you have similar hobbies, thats, of course, great news. Otherwise, you can look for other things you both like or dislike. This could be anything from a shared interest in cars to a shared dislike for loud noises.
Support groups for adults with autism
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Problems Processing Physical Sensations
Many individuals with autism have sensory difficulties. They may find specific noises, tastes, smells, or feelings intolerable. Noisy public places can lead to emotional distress, as can uncomfortable clothing or unwanted touches. These issues can be disruptive and stressful, but according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism symptoms can improve over time as children with mild autism learn to regulate their own behavior through work with professionals.
What Causes Autism In Adults
Adult autism is caused by autism spectrum disorder. This is a brain condition that affects communication. People with autism have repetitive behaviors that do not change.
They dont like change and can focus on one thing for a long time. They also might have problems talking to people they dont know.
Research shows autism is not the result of a lack of care or attention, but rather it may be caused by abnormalities in brain structure and function. Autism spectrum disorders are a group of brain problems.
ASD can cause people to have difficulties with things like learning and socializing. It is caused by an abnormality in the brains normal functioning.
ASD has many of the same features and has a broad impact on ones ability to communicate, understand language, play, and relate to others.
All of the different ways that people can have autism is called Autism Spectrum Disorder. This term is used because some people have a more mild form while others have it tougher.
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Autism Signs And Characteristics: A Checklist For Adults
While it is very often the case that people with autism are diagnosed when they are children or during their school years, there are nevertheless many adults who may be on the spectrum but who do not have a formal diagnosis of autism.
This may be because an individual thinks or knows that they are on the autism spectrum but have chosen not to have an assessment, or it could be the case that an individual is not aware that they are autistic because they have never been assessed at any point in their lives.
Can Adults Become Autistic Later In Life
Many people are confused about whether or not autism can develop later in life. Theyve heard stories about kids who grow up to be adults without the disease.
An autism diagnosis can happen at any age. Its possible for a person to develop autism as an adult or to have autism and not realize it until adulthood.
Autism is a condition that affects people their whole life. It can change over time, depending on the person.
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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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Diagnosing Aspergers In Adults
Its no longer possible to be diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at any age. The syndrome has ceased to be a valid diagnosis, and its symptoms are considered symptoms of autism.
To get a formal diagnosis of autism as an adult, you may undergo neuropsychological testing with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. The medical professional will interview you about your symptoms and behavior. They may also give you written or computer-based tests to compose a full picture of your language, communication, and cognitive abilities.
What kind of testing you need and from whom will vary depending on why youre seeking a diagnosis. For example, your school or college may have very specific guidelines to follow in order to get academic accommodations including quiet testing areas free of unpleasant sensory stimulation. Workplaces may offer other types of accommodation based on other criteria.
Its unlikely that a person with the type of mild autism once diagnosed as Aspergers would qualify for disability payments, which are intended for people who cant work any type of job. That said, you need a formal diagnosis from a Ph.D.-level psychologist or medical doctor to get supplemental social security income or social security disability insurance in the United States.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism
There are many signs and symptoms that could indicate a person has autism spectrum disorder. Not all adults or children with autism will have every symptom, and some adults and children without autism may display some of the same behaviors and symptoms.
People with autism spectrum disorder often have difficulties with communication, and connecting emotionally and socially with others. They may also process sensory information, such as sounds and smells, differently from other people. These differences can underlie some of the behavioral signs of autism that people may display.
When looking for early signs of autism spectrum disorder, there are developmental milestones that children are expected to reach by certain ages, such as babbling by four months old and being able to use simple sentences by two years old. If a child reaches these milestones later, or does not develop the skills at all, it may indicate a developmental disorder such as autism spectrum disorder.
Autism can be diagnosed by age two, though symptoms may be apparent much earlier.
How To Begin A Diagnosis Process
Adults who suspect they or a loved one might be autistic can do a self-assessment test for adults. A person can find these tests online. While they cannot give a diagnosis, the tests are a good starting point.
A person seeking a diagnosis can take the results of such a test to a primary care doctor who will try to determine whether ASD may be present by:
- enquiring about the symptoms, both current and during childhood
- observing and interacting with the person
- speaking to a loved one
- checking for other physical or mental health conditions that may be causing symptoms
If no underlying physical condition can explain the symptoms, the doctor may refer the person to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to make an ASD diagnosis.
If symptoms are not present in childhood but begin in adolescence or adulthood, this may indicate a cognitive or mental health condition other than ASD.
It may be difficult to find a specialist who can diagnose ASD in adults. Individuals who would like a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to do research to find a provider with experience diagnosing autistic adults.
Another option is to speak to a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is willing to see adult clients.
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