Planning Starts At 14
Senator says parents often begin panicking when their kids hit 14 and transition planning starts coming up. IDEA requires every state to begin this process for all students with an Individualized Education Program by age 16, and some states require that school districts start the process as early as 14. During the annual IEP meeting, the focus shifts to more specific planning and goal-setting for the transition into young adulthood. Goals might include things like post-secondary education, vocational training, and independent living. Autism Speaks also provides a Transition Tool Kit, which offers guidance on everything from housing to Internet safety.
When it came to Nat, Senator created a shared living arrangement. Its like a group home, except that theres a live-in caregiver, which Nat qualifies for due to his level of disability, as opposed to rotating staff. The idea is that its just like home, Senator says. Hes got to do the groceries, clean and do the laundry, assisted by another part-time caregiver. Nat shares a house not far from his family with another young man with similar issues that mans family owns the house and Nat rents from them.
Recreational Activities For Adults With Autism
Camping, reading a book, singing, playing tennis, dancing, and listening to music are just some of the recreational activities that adults with autism might enjoy with their loved ones. These activities are essential for everyone and they provide a wide range of opportunities for individuals with autism to enjoy themselves while forming deeper social relationships with their loved ones. When choosing an appropriate recreational activity, it is important to take into account the individual with autisms ability to participate, their interest level in the activity, and the amount of care involved to help facilitate the activity.
Learning About Each Other Never Stops Especially When Youre Dating On The Autism Spectrum
Lastly, learn about your autistic partners unique needs and honor them. Common situations that may be challenging for your autistic partner include:
- Social settings: Many people with autism have a need for alone time and time to engage in their special interests. Crowds, family gatherings, or going out with a group of friends can feel overwhelming.
- Group conversations: Many people with autism feel more at ease in 1-on-1 interactions. In group settings, it can be draining and tedious for an autistic person to make conversation and stay engaged. Robbing the autistic person of the joy of the interaction and getting to know someone.
- Sensory sensitivities: Becoming overstimulated is common. Sometimes they dont even know it at a conscious level, but it dramatically impacts the way they feel and behave in certain situations. Sounds, textures, smells, vibrations can overwhelm their nervous system, especially if their senses had been assaulted earlier in the day. This can wear them down and drain them.
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Focus On Getting Good Sleep
A proper nights sleep with enough time in the rapid eye movement stage can be the difference between a good day and one youd rather forget.
This isnt as simple as it sounds, if youre among the 79% of autistic people who experience disrupted sleep.
Sleep is important enough to be a priority. Sleep improvement strategies to try include:
- keeping a consistent sleep routine
- having an earlier cut off time for screens
- exercising during the day
- avoiding caffeine past noon
- having calming sensory input, like a weighted blanket
If none of these strategies work, your doctor might be able to recommend an appropriate dose for a sleep aid, like melatonin.
Can A Person With Autism Spectrum Disorder Live An Independent Adult Life
The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence. The focus of intervention services is to help the individual achieve their highest possible level of independence, and that wont look the same for everyone.
Because ASD is variable , treatment plans should be individualized and focused on each persons passions, interests, and skillsets. With the scientifically-validated Applied Behavior Analysis treatments available at Therapeutic Pathways, your family member with ASD will develop skills that will help them tremendously in navigating everyday life and meeting goals.
There are various degrees and stages of independence. Depending on how early your family member was diagnosed and began treatment, you should treat the journey to independence as just that a journey. It wont happen overnight it will take patience and perseverance to help your family member become more independent.
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Challenging Behaviors In Adults With Autism
Challenging behaviors such as aggression, destructiveness, and self-injury take a tremendous toll on adults with autism and their caregivers. Each week, the Autism Research Institute receives desperate communications from caregivers seeking help for an adult son or daughter whose behavior is disturbing, dangerous, or even life-threatening.
In this editorial, I will look at the scope of this problem, current approaches for treatment, and the steps the autism community can take to help people with autism spectrum disorder and caregivers who are struggling with this serious issue.
The high rateand high costof challenging behaviors
Aggression, destructiveness, and self-injury are common among children with ASD, with the Autism Research Institutes E-2 database of more than 2,300 cases indicating that 59% of those with ASD engage in one or more of these behaviors. Other datasets also support the relatively high prevalence rate of challenging behaviors in this population . In a recent long-term follow-up study, Laverty et al. found that 44% of individuals with ASD continued to engage in self-injurious behaviors a decade later indicating that this behavior can be persistent and lifelong if not overcome .
Addressing the roots of challenging behaviors
The contributors to aggression, destructiveness, and self-injury can be classified into three categories: a biological basis, a social basis, and an initial biological cause that is later maintained by social consequences.
What Are The Characteristics Of Autism In Adults
Autism is characterized by numerous traits and symptoms, varying from one person to the next. Just like no single person is exactly the same to another, no person with autism is the same. That is why autism is considered a spectrum disorder. When looking at a rainbow, there is an array, or spectrum, of colors, and each color has countless shades. This is also true of the autism spectrum. Think of the colors and shades as the particular, one-of-a-kind characteristics of each individual with autism spectrum disorder.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder face a unique set of challenges in their daily lives. The challenges can alter their perception of the world and people around them in ways that others do not always understand. Some autistic adults may exhibit symptoms that resemble attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
An autism diagnosis can cause confusion and frustration on both ends, but knowledge is power. Understanding the signs of autism and how autism spectrum disorder impacts a persons life can help both parties improve their interactions and communication. While autistic personality traits and symptoms can differ from one person with autism to another, there are some general characteristics of autism in adults.
Here are five general autistic traits in adults with autism spectrum disorder.
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Time Off And Rest/relaxation
Whether you use energy accounting or not, time off from work or school and other high-stress activities is key to managing stress levels. Ensuring time for activities/interests that re-energise and promote relaxation for you is key. This could be connecting with family and friends or enjoying hobbies or interests.
Accept The Child Fully
Some children with autism seem neurotypical until about age 2 and then they lose skills theyve gained. Its distressing for many adults. You saw the child a year or so ago progressing on course, and now the child seems different.
Dont judge the child by past behavior or development. Look for things to enjoy about the child right now. Accept the child the way they are right now.
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Great Strengths And Abilities
In general, people with autism are honest and dependable most are focused on their work and are rarely distracted by social activities or outside interests.
Quite a few have exceptional talents in areas such as computer coding, mathematics, music, drafting, organizing, and visual arts. While it can be tough for autistic adults to set up and manage their own space and schedules, many are outstanding bosses and employees.
Some corporations have started to recognize the value of actively recruiting and hiring autistic individuals a few include:
- Freddie Mac
Growing Old With Autism
For many autistic adults, the golden years are tarnished by poor health, poverty and, in some cases, homelessness. Their plight reveals huge gaps in care.
Kurt remembers very little of what happened during the 4th of July weekend in 2009. Then 49, he had been in his apartment when all of a sudden he became dizzy, nauseous and unable to speak properly. The right side of his body felt sluggish, so he called a friend to take him to the hospital and then staggered to his bed.
When Kurts friend arrived, he phoned Kurt but got no answer. Peering through a window, the friend spotted Kurt in bed, not moving, so he ran to find the building manager, who let him in.
The friend helped Kurt to the car and drove him to the hospital, about a mile away in Silver Spring, Maryland. A neurologist there determined that Kurt had had a stroke. His speech was garbled, and he had trouble moving one of his legs. After talking with Kurt, the doctor jotted down an additional diagnosis code for Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.
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What Are Daily Living Activities
Activities of daily living are the routines people undertake on a regular or daily basis, and often take for granted, these include:
- Meal times: preparing and eating regularly, including breakfast, lunch, dinner.
- Self-care: showering or bathing, getting dressed, cleaning teeth, doing hair and clipping nails.
Stay In Contact With Friends & Family
Instead, while its still recommended to use this time to nurture your relationships, consider using instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or even old school emails , as this brings the conversation into our court where we have plenty of time to respond, emojis to make emotional recognition easier, no pressure of having to suppress stims or make eye contact and, of course, the glory that is gifs!
Additionally, Netflix has just created an opportunity to jointly watch shows called Netflix Party. So, if you are looking for ways to chat where the empty silence is filled, then look no further.
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Can Medication Help Autistic Adults
You likely already know that autism isnt something that doctors treat with medication.
However, if you experience behaviors that interfere with your ability to thrive, they might not be caused by autism.
For example, difficulties with sustained attention and weak working memory could be from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Mood instability might be depression, and a drive to perform rituals could be obsessive-compulsive disorder .
If you live with behaviors and tendencies that get in your way, your doctor may be able to determine whether theyre caused by a condition that you can treat with medication.
We Cancel Plans At The Last Minute
Its always a bit of a gut punch when youre all dolled up ready to head out and, suddenly, your partner in crime cancels. But, whats more frustrating is when that person comes out with some lame excuse for why, i.e. my car broke down whilst I was on the way to wash my hair and I suddenly came down with the flu as my dog ate my homework
In reality, the autistic person in question would probably prefer to have had all the above happened as, the truth is, they likely have been hit by a truck of anxiety. This has been the case for me on so many occasions and, believe me, no matter how disappointed you are with us, we are likely to feel twice as bad about it ourselves.
So, if this happens to you, try and not pile onto our woes and maybe encourage us to open up about the thoughts holding us back. If we mention that we do want to go out, but are anxious about the unexpected, offer us a get out of jail free card by saying something like We can leave whenever you want . Furthermore, if the anxiety really is too much, why not move the evening plans to a lesser packed venue, such as someones home? Fun doesnt always have to involve overpriced drinks.
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Support For Adults With Autism
Adults arent generally given the same support as children with ASD. Sometimes adults with ASD may be treated with cognitive, verbal, and applied behavioral therapy.
Note that certain therapies such as applied behavioral analysis are controversial in autistic communities. Some advocacy groups such as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network do not support the use of ABA.
In general, youll want to seek out specific support based on the impacts youre experiencing. This might include anxiety, social isolation, relationship problems, or job difficulties.
Some possibilities include:
Dont Assume Nonverbal Children Cant Communicate
Many children with autism dont speak at all. But never assume that they dont have something to say.
For children with autism, behavior is a form of communication. That includes:
- Walking away
Listen to what the child is trying to say. Ignore it, and the behavior may escalate until the child gets the point across.
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a developmental disorder that can impact behavior and communication. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, diagnostic criteria includes:
- persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
- restricted, repetitive behaviors, interests or activities
These autism symptoms must be present in the early developmental period and are unable to be explained by intellectual disability or global developmental delay. To diagnose ASD, the symptoms must cause clinically significant impairment in areas of functioning that include social and occupational.
The DSM-5 merged four distinct autism diagnoses into the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals previously diagnosed with one of these are included in the new ASD diagnosis. These included:
- autistic disorder
- pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified
- Aspergers syndrome
Autism is a spectrum, which is why we cant categorize individuals with autism into one simple group. We also cant treat autistic people the same, as each person is unique and has their own needs.
Not all adults with ASD need special assistance however, depending upon their ability to function independently, some need continued help. This might entail working with:
- an applied behavior analyst
- a home health care aid who comes in daily
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
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Different Levels Of Support Are Available
There are many autistic traits a person might have, and everyone with autism is unique. This means that the supports you want might not be the same as another autistic person might want or need.
Not only are needs different, but so is the level of intervention. Some autistic people are fully independent and lead fairly typical lives, with only a few instances of challenge. Others require 24-hour support. Still others fall anywhere in between those two extremes.
When assessing the types of changes to make, it helps to consider the core differences with autism:
- altered communication
- reduced reciprocal social interaction
- restricted and repetitive behaviors
Sound sensitivity is another potential trait. And if you need noise-canceling headphones to get through each day, this can interfere with your communication with others.
Every autistic person is different, and there is no single approach that works for everyone. Its up to you to decide what you want to try. Its wise to continue trying if you dont get the results you want right away.
For Parents Of An Autistic Person
If youre parenting an autistic person who requires a high level of support, you may be used to advocating for their educational needs.
As your autistic child enters adulthood, it can help to remember that public schools are typically responsible for providing services to autistic people of up to 22 years old. After this, any other educational or employment opportunities will likely be organized by you.
It can help to start researching these opportunities early to get a head start on this process. Talking to other parents of autistic adults can also help you gather information and ideas about resources that may exist in your community.
One resource that could help you get started is this guide to academic success from the Autism Society.
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Who This Change Applies To
We will impose the new routine condition on providers who are registering to carry on certain regulated activities, or applying to vary a condition of their existing registration.
It will be imposed on providers that:
- do not intend to provide a service for people with a learning disability or autistic people
Plan to provide any of these regulated activities:
- Personal care
- Accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care
- Assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.
For more information please see our updated guidance: