Challenges Faced By Adults With High
Coping with adult autism can be a struggle for some people. The2017 National Autism Indicators Report from the Autism Institute revealed low employment rates, as well as low levels of engagement among adults with autism.
In particular, persons with high-functioning autism often experience a lack of sufficient support since they may be deemed not in need of the kind of support systems available to those with more severe cases of autism.
And, there are other issues that compound these challenges. Especially if they are unaware of their condition, persons with high-functioning autism may be perplexed as to why they are different from others. This may be a contributing factor toanxiety and depression being frequentcomorbidities with adult autism.
- Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Tourette syndrome, characterized by motor and vocal tics
- Pervasive developmental disorders unspecified
It is important to note that persons with high-functioning autism do not havean intellectual disability. This is one characteristic that sets them apart from persons at the other end of the autism spectrum. In low-functioning autism, intellectual disability is a frequent comorbidity.
Determining The Level Of Autism
There is no specific test to ascertain an individuals unique level of ASD. Rather, a doctor or psychologist needs to spend time with the individual to observe their behavior. This enables the medical professional to gauge the persons social and emotional development and capabilities, as well as their communication skills. They will also look at the persons ability to form and maintain relationships with those around them.
Autism spectrum disorder is diagnosable as early as eighteen months of age. However, many individuals do not get diagnosed until later in life, making treatment more challenging. If you suspect your child has ASD, you should go see a specialist at the first opportunity. Various treatment options exist in Little Rock for those with developmental or intellectual disabilities.
Narrow Areas Of Intense Interest
This is a common sign of autism. But if you do a Google search for the signs of autism, when they mention this sign its usually followed by examples such as memorizes license plates or the TV guide or Can list all sub-species of insects in alphabetical order.
In other words, its usually described as an unusual, narrow topic of interest.
This is not always the case.
My sons first special interest was Thomas the Train. He was two years old. What two-year-old boy doesnt love Thomas the train? It didnt seem like a big deal to me, he was a little boy loving a little boy show.
Although in hindsight, there were red-flags that it was more than a boy loving Thomas.
He actually wouldnt watch anything else on TV but Thomas for over a year. We only read Thomas books, he slept with a Thomas blanket, and he wore Thomas pajamas. He had over 50 toy characters from the TV show, hundreds of pieces of wooden train track, and a ride on toy Thomas too.
Clearly, there was a bit of Thomas the Train overkill happening at our house, but as a first-time mom, it all seemed fine to me.
These days he loves all things Pokemon. It started when Pokemon Go was released and its grown from there. Weve played all the video games, watched all the shows, collect the cards and toys, etc.
Also Check: Pecs Visual Schedule Free
What Are The Causes Of Autism
The exact cause of autism is still under research, although the following factors predispose an individual to the development of autism
- Gender: Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls.
- Children born to older parents are at high risk of autism spectrum disorder .
- ASD is often seen if a parent or sibling suffers from autistic disorders.
- Genes: People suffering from genetic diseases such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis have a higher risk of ASD.
- Medication: Certain drugs such as valproic acid and thalidomide taken by the mother during pregnancy may cause the development of autistic characteristics in the child.
It must be noted that autism is not contagious. It does not spread by playing with or having contact with an affected child. Additionally, there is no relationship between vaccinations and autism development.
- Not responding to name by 12 months
- Not pointing to distant object by 14 months
Symptoms of autism in a child around five years
Symptoms of autism in an adult
- Difficulty in interacting with other people.
- Unable to pick up on body language and emotional subtext in conversations.
- Avoid eye contact while speaking.
- Extreme anxiety in various social situations.
- They may make friends but are unable to maintain friendships or relations.
- Extreme distress at even a minor change in routine.
- Stubborn adherence to rules.
Is There A Test For Asd In Adults
Clinicians have developed different tests that can help diagnose ASD in adults. These include diagnostic tests such as ADOS 2 Module 4, ADI-R, and 3Di Adult.
However, it is not clear how reliable these tests are for adults. The reasons for this include:
- Researchers who look at the reliability of ASD tests often use a small number of study participants.
- Not many research studies on testing for adult ASD include enough participants from historically underserved groups, such as People of Color or people who are LGBTQIA+. This means the results of studies looking at ASD testing methods may not represent a true population of autistic adults.
- Many clinicians may not be familiar with the signs of ASD in adulthood. This is especially true if the patientâs symptoms are not severe or if the patient also has other conditions, for example, anxiety.
Autistic people may have of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or depression, than those in the general population.
Also Check: What Does Autism Look Like In Girls
Greater Verbal Reasoning Ability And Spatial Skills
As we mentioned above, people with high-functioning autism can easily express themselves. They speak, reason, and communicate effectively and skillfully.
A remarkable characteristic is that not only is their IQ above average, but their competence in spatial intelligence attracts attention. This is because it translates into an ability to imagine and visualize. They can distinguish different objects of various dimensions. Also, they can transform concepts and modify and manipulate their data.
Signs Of Autism In Older Children And Teens
Although autism spectrum disorder can reliably be diagnosed from the age of two or three years old, many children do not receive a diagnosis until they are older. Milder symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder who are higher functioning may not be recognized until they are in school.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that children will have different experiences of day-to-day living. Children who are more than five years old and on into their teenage years, who have mild symptoms and are towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Develop a narrow range of interests or obsessions with certain topics
- Engage in repetitive behavior such as hand flapping, twirling or snapping a rubber band
- Not make eye contact
- Use formal language rather than the slang of their peers
- Place great importance on routines and rules
- Develop strong preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
Children who have more severe symptoms and are towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
- Not use speech at all
- Become extremely distressed at changes to routine
- Exhibit challenging behavior, such as being aggressive or banging head on wall
- Need assistance with everyday living, such as bathing and dressing
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as rocking
- Insist on rules and routine
- Develop rigid preferences for certain foods, clothes or objects
- Need specialized diets
You May Like: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
Build A Support Network
Remember, youre not alone. Build up a support network. This could include a support or social skills group, an autistic friend, a friend or family member who learns about autism with you, an individual therapist who specializes in neurodiversity and can help you process your autism identity. Also, they can help you process any other challenges, such as social anxiety or trauma, and help you reduce the distress in your life. Ultimately, getting this support and learning these skills will improve your quality of life.
Can You Be A Little Autistic
No, there is no such thing as being a little autistic. Many people may show some characteristics of autism from time to time. This may include avoiding bright lights and noises, preferring to be alone and being rigid about rules. This does not make them autistic.
However, a person can be mildly autistic. Mildly autistic people are unable to understand the body language or emotions of the people around them. However, they have normal intelligence and can carry their day-to-day activities.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Pet For An Autistic Child
Different Types Of Autism
No two people with autism have the same symptoms and behavior. And because there are so many variables involved in autism diagnosis, the way each person experiences and exhibits autism can be very different.
There are varying diagnoses within the category of autism, and under the umbrella of high functioning autism subtypes include aspergers syndrome, pathological demand avoidance, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified also known as atypical autism. Sometimes doctors will indicate a child has mild or severe autism or even mention Broad Autism Phenotype.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on defining what high functioning autism is, and how it is expressed.
Disclosing Your Autism To Others
I frequently hear that receiving an autism diagnosis provided a sense of calmness. After all less confusion about who you are and why your acting that way leads to less stress. You arent left with lingering questions about why its so hard for you to fit in, have a conversation, or why certain sensory things make you really uncomfortable.
Now, you have to decide if and how to disclose your autism to others. If youre an adult, this decision is totally up to you. If youre under the age of eighteen, its up to your parents to decide. Often this decision is made to receive an IEP or individualized education plan. Regardless, the therapists at Open Doors Therapy, encourage you to disclose your autism when its appropriate. We call this a mini-disclosure. Over time, you will learn how to disclose your autism so others can assist you in being the best you can be.
Also Check: How To Improve Sitting Tolerance In Autism
Signs Of Autism Meltdown
For some people with autism, sensory overload can become overwhelming. In these situations a person may have a meltdown. A change in routine can also precipitate a meltdown.
A meltdown is not a temper tantrum and can be experienced by someone with autism of any age. A meltdown should be managed by calming the person and addressing the cause of the distress.
Signs that a meltdown may be developing, sometimes known as the rumbling stage, include:
- Nail biting
- Chronic gastritis
- Chronic duodenitis
Many people with autism spectrum disorder also have food intolerances and may find that a diet which excludes gluten or casein helps.
Support Available For Autistic Children When Becoming Teenagers
Some local authorities have charities operating within them, so search the website of your local author to see what support is available. Some offer buddying volunteers for young people with autism who would otherwise have no peer friendships, while others provide support groups for parents and advice on how to navigate the Education, Health and Care Plan process.
For more details on Aspris Children’s Services, please call 0118 970 8068 or
Recommended Reading: Child Symptom Diagnosis
Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder In Adults
Common symptoms of autism in adults include:
- Difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling
- Trouble interpreting facial expressions, body language, or social cues
- Difficulty regulating emotion
- Trouble keeping up a conversation
- Inflection that does not reflect feelings
- Difficulty maintaining the natural give-and-take of a conversation prone to monologues on a favorite subject
- Tendency to engage in repetitive or routine behaviors
- Only participates in a restricted range of activities
- Strict consistency to daily routines outbursts when changes occur
- Exhibiting strong, special interests
Autism spectrum disorder is typically a life-long condition, though early diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous difference.
How Are Asd Levels Determined
While its difficult to determine a persons ASD level, trained psychologists have some tools that can help them accomplish this, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition . This assessment is typically paired with a thorough developmental history.
ASD can be diagnosed as early as 18 months . However, many children, and even some adults, may not be diagnosed until much later.
Being diagnosed at a later age can make treatment more difficult. If you or your childs pediatrician think they may be autistic, consider making an appointment with an ASD specialist. Learn more about testing for ASD.
You May Like: Dyslexia And Autism Overlap
Over The Top Reactions To Smells
This is a moment I remember very clearly from when my son was young. One day we were taking a cab to his daycare. It was cold and snowy as we waited outside. The cab pulled into the driveway and I opened the door to help my son into the cab.
This is when it happened.
He screamed, Im not going in there, that man STINKS!. Oh. my. god.
This moment was not only memorable but incredibly embarrassing.
Although I agreed he didnt exactly smell nice, to me the smell was mild and tolerable and I just couldnt believe my child would say something so rude.
Now, I am more familiar with my sons sensitivities to smells and I let people know that if a smell bothers him it needs to be taken seriously. He cant stand being around peanut butter, for example.
Also, there are times when he doesnt like the smell of supper and will literally not leave his bedroom for the rest of the night, to avoid the odor.
Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no standard diagnostic criteria for adults with suspected ASD, but they are in development.
In the meantime, 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 isnt an underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for in-depth assessment.
The clinician will want to talk with you about any issues you have regarding communication, emotions, behavioral patterns, range of interests, and more. Youll answer questions about your childhood, and your clinician might request to speak with your parents or other older family members to gain their perspectives about your lifelong behavior patterns.
If the diagnostic criteria for children are being used for reference, your clinician can ask your parent questions from that list, relying on their memories of you as a child for further information.
If your clinician determines that you didnt display symptoms of ASD in childhood, but instead began experiencing symptoms as a teen or adult, you may be evaluated for other possible mental health or affective disorders.
Because most autism diagnoses are made in children, it could be a challenge to find a provider who will diagnose adults.
You May Like: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Most Common Signs Of High Functioning Autism
Sometimes, the signs of high functioning autism are hiding in plain sight! And if youre not careful, you might mistake them for something else. Or even worse, miss them altogether.
Given the overall increase in autism diagnoses in recent years, it might be helpful to be familiar with the signs. But first, its important to note a few things.
First, the medical community no longer uses the terms Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. Click here for more on that.
And secondly, though the terms have changed, understanding how to effectively parent regardless of the different expressions of autism is way more important now than before. Find out how to do so by clicking here.
So here are the 4 most common signs of what people often refer to as high functioning autism.
Making Up His Own Words
I found out that making up words, termed neologisms can be a sign of autism just last year during my sons assessment.
My sons third special interest was wind turbines. But he called turbines or windmills undoons.
I cant tell you why and I cant tell you where it came from but if you dared use any other word for a windmill in his presence he would actually get angry. As he got older he did eventually stop referring to them as undoons and start using the correct terminology.
He does still use made-up words occasionally. But now that hes older he understands that his word isnt the actual word, so he will use the correct word as well.
At school, if hes using a made-up word, the teacher will ask him to draw a picture of the meaning to help her understand what hes saying.
Also Check: James Holzhauer Autistic
Characteristics Of People With High
Most people with high-functioning autism receive the diagnosis as adults. This might be because they tend to have a keen intelligence that allows them to overcome difficulties.
However, their families and their social environment suffer certain limitations. Thus, they tend to attribute such deficiencies to their personality. Thus, they rarely suspect that autism spectrum disorder is behind their behavior. Continue reading to find out more about what people with high-functioning autism are like.