Find Other Parents Who Will Understand And Support You
“It always has been invaluable to have other parents who are going through the same thing as you are, to call them up and say I cant believe this is happening to me today. Because to the rest of the community, the things that happen to us, theyre really not the norm.” Ruth Singer Strunck, the mom of two young adults with autism
Autism And Relationships Part 2 When Both People Have Autism
In a previous article relationships between autistic people and neuro-typical people was discussed. But what about relationships between two people who are both on the autistic spectrum? There are obviously benefits to two people with autism being in a relationship, but there can also be difficulties. These can be different than the difficulties faced by a neuro-typical couple, or a couple comprised of one autistic and one neuro-typical person. Some of these issues are explored below.
Two autistic people may be drawn to each other for many reasons this could be merely because they are attracted to each other, and like each other as individuals, or they may have set out to find somebody with autism to have a relationship with because they feel that only another autistic person could understand them as an individual. Some autistic people dont like the idea of dating neuro-typical people as they feel only somebody else with autism will be able to relate to them and properly meet their needs.
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Links Between Autism And Addiction
At first glance, addiction and autism wouldnt seem to be connected. Addiction normally develops in the teens or early 20s. ASD usually is diagnosed at a much younger age, as early as 18 months.
Sometimes, however, the symptoms of autism are overlooked until the teens or adulthood. One person with ASD wasnt diagnosed until his mid-30s, at which time he was struggling with addiction. That missing information helped to explain his addiction.
Until recently, most researchers believed that people with autism rarely became addicted because:
- They are regimented rule-followers. They dont want to use drugs.
- They are isolated from their peers. They dont face pressure to use drugs to fit in.
- People with severe autism cant live independently. They dont have opportunities to go out, find, and use drugs.
That beliefbased on limited and ambiguous empirical datanow seems to be very wrong except in the most severe cases.
According to a Swedish study, when people with ASD have average or better intelligencethats 70% of themthey may be twice as likely to have a SUD as their peers. The likelihood is even higher for people with ADHD.
Like autism, addiction also has a genetic component. The best evidence now suggests that there is a biological predisposition towards addiction. Thats why some people can have one drink and stop while others feel compelled to continue until they pass out.
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When It Comes To Autism One Size Doesnt Fit All
If you put a PlayStation game into an Xbox, would it work? Of course not. So does that mean the Xbox is broken? No. The same thing applies for a child with autism. Just because they dont learn the way typical children do doesnt mean there is something wrong with them. It means that we as parents, caregivers, friends, neighbors and teachers need to find different ways to try and make a connection.
Laura Jones, Lambertville, New Jersey
How Does Narcissism Relate To Autism
Some individuals report that symptoms of autism in adults, especially those with Level 1 autism or the formerly designated Aspergers syndrome, are similar to symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
There are overlapping symptoms for people on the autism spectrum who appear to have few struggles with communication and socialization, so these people may be labeled as narcissists. While there are some comparable symptoms, autism is a developmental disorder, so there is a different underlying cause. Other symptoms of autism are not part of the narcissism diagnosis.
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Autism Is A Genetic Disorder
Although autism was once believed to be the result of improper parenting, researchers now believe that genesnot psychological factorsare to blame. In fact, a 2019 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that 80% of autism risk comes from inherited genetic factors. The study was widespread, looking at 2 million people from five countries .
If a couple has one child with autism, there is a 5 to 10 percent chance that siblings will have some sort of autistic disorder. With identical twins, the likelihood is 60 percent. Even though profoundly autistic people rarely have children, researchers often find that a relative has mild autistic symptoms or a high-functioning autism-spectrum disorder.
Experts believe that autism is the result of multiple genes anywhere from three to 20 interacting with each other. This may explain why the symptoms and severity of the disorder vary greatly. These genes may cause a baby’s brain to develop abnormally in utero or make him more susceptible to unknown triggers. “There is probably a combination of genetic and environmental influences,” says Catherine Lord, Ph.D., director of the Center for Autism and Communication Disorders at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Although the genes linked to autism have not yet been pinpointed, intense research is under way.
What Causes Autism: 6 Facts You Need To Know
There are lots of frightening rumors about what causes autism, a mysterious brain disorder, in children. We asked leading experts across the country to get you answers.
Nancy Wiseman had a feeling early on that something wasn’t quite right with her daughter. When Sarah was 6 months old, she stopped babbling, and by 10 months, she was silent. By 18 months, the increasingly aloof toddler no longer responded to her name, and she resisted being held, kissed, or touched. “I felt that I was losing my child a little more each day,” says Wiseman, of Merrimac, Massachusetts. When Sarah wasn’t saying any words or even making sounds that resembled words by 20 months, her grandmother, a school psychologist, suspected that the girl might actually be deaf. Instead, Wiseman was devastated to learn that her daughter had autism. “The diagnosis really knocked the wind out of me,” she recalls, “but I was relieved to finally know what was wrong.”
There are many unanswered questions,” says Alice Kau, Ph.D., an autism expert at the National Institutes of Health, which funded more than $74 million in autism research in 2002, as compared with only $22 million in 1997. Still, researchers are beginning to make progress in unraveling this baffling disorder, and the number of resources available for families is increasing. Here, six facts about autism that every parent should know.
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People With Autism Rarely Lie
We all claim to value the truth, but almost all of us tell little white lies. More significantly, many neurotypical people actively hide important truths from the people around them.
People on the autism spectrum, however, tell the truthwhether it’s positive or negative. That means a person with autism will accurately reflect their feelings and respond with complete candor when asked their opinion. If a person with autism says you look terrific you can be pretty sure you’re having a good hair day.
The Joys And Challenges Of Being A Parent With Autism
A generation of parents are revealing some advantages of the condition, even when their children dont share the diagnosis.
Its going on 8 p.m., and Kirsten Hurleys house in West Cork, Ireland, is a scene of happy chaos. The childrenAlex, 9, and Isla, 4have been promised chocolate if they stay out of their mothers hair while she talks with a journalist via Skype.
But the bribe doesnt seem to be workingat least not with Isla, who climbs up her mothers back and somersaults over her shoulder, cackling with delight.
This is something that drives me nuts, Hurley says. The nonstop and often intense sensory inputs that come along with being a parentbeing grabbed at, being climbed on, listening to the drone of Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Momcan be difficult for her to handle because she has a mild form of autism sometimes known as Aspergers syndrome.
Hurley was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at age 23, when her son was about 14 months old. Alex received his own autism diagnosis about a year later.
Hurley handles many such puzzles of being a parent on the autism spectrum with self-awareness and a healthy dose of humor. But at times, when she has reached out for help she has been misunderstood. Hurley once mentioned to a new therapist she was seeing that she has Aspergers syndrome. The therapist asked if she loved her childrenwhich wasnt very helpful, Hurley says. People have these kinds of misconceptions about people with autism, that they dont feel emotion.
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They Play Fewer Head Games
“Do I look fat in this outfit? Tell me the truthI won’t get mad!”
“I know I told you I didn’t mind if you went out, but why did you believe me?”
Few autistic people play games like theseand they assume that you won’t either. It’s a refreshing and wonderful change from the emotional roller coaster that mars too many typical relationships.
Of course, part of the reason for this lack of subterfuge is the reality that autistic people find head games baffling. Why would someone ask a question if they don’t want an answer?
Support Groups For Loved Ones Of People On The Autism Spectrum Or With Npd
It is possible that narcissistic and autistic traits are related genetically, so they may be passed down through families. Some anecdotal evidence from clinicians notes that children with autism rarely have parents with autism, but one parent may display more narcissistic traits. However, there is currently very little research on potential overlap between autism and narcissism. The links are anecdotal.
Children with autism benefit from being diagnosed by a pediatrician as early as possible and then getting prompt and intensive help from a behavior therapist. People with narcissistic personality disorder also benefit from behavioral therapy, but their diagnosis will come much later in life.
Support groups for family and friends of people either with autism or narcissistic personality disorder can help you understand your loved ones condition and cope with stress. Here are some support group or therapy search options:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a help page, so you can find mental health, behavioral, and other types of therapy near your city. Therapists may specialize in helping family members of those with autism or NPD.
- Autism Speaks offers a resource page listing support groups for parents, siblings, and friends who have a loved one with autism.
- Psychology Today provides a search page to help you find a narcissism support group near you.
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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.
by Rachel Nuwer / 18 March 2020
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.
How Are The Speech And Language Problems Of Asd Treated
If a doctor suspects a child has ASD or another developmental disability, he or she usually will refer the child to a variety of specialists, including a speech-language pathologist. This is a health professional trained to treat individuals with voice, speech, and language disorders. The speech-language pathologist will perform a comprehensive evaluation of the childs ability to communicate, and will design an appropriate treatment program. In addition, the speech-language pathologist might make a referral for a hearing test to make sure the childs hearing is normal.
Teaching children with ASD to improve their communication skills is essential for helping them reach their full potential. There are many different approaches, but the best treatment program begins early, during the preschool years, and is tailored to the childs age and interests. It should address both the childs behavior and communication skills and offer regular reinforcement of positive actions. Most children with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized programs. Parents or primary caregivers, as well as other family members, should be involved in the treatment program so that it becomes part of the childs daily life.
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Social And Communication Skills
Impairments in social skills present many challenges for individuals with ASD. Deficits in social skills may lead to problems with friendships, romantic relationships, daily living, and vocational success. One study that examined the outcomes of adults with ASD found that, compared to the general population, those with ASD were less likely to be married, but it is unclear whether this outcome was due to deficits in social skills or intellectual impairment, or some other reason.
Prior to 2013, deficits in social function and communication were considered two separate symptoms of autism. The current criteria for autism diagnosis require individuals to have deficits in three social skills: social-emotional reciprocity, nonverbal communication, and developing and sustaining relationships.
Some of the symptoms related to social reciprocity include:
- Lack of mutual sharing of interests: many children with autism prefer not to play or interact with others.
- Lack of awareness or understanding of other people’s thoughts or feelings: a child may get too close to peers without noticing that this makes them uncomfortable.
- Atypical behaviors for attention: a child may push a peer to gain attention before starting a conversation.
Symptoms related to relationships includes the following:
- Defects in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.
- Difficulties adjusting behavior to fit social contexts.
Research Early Signs And Treatment
There’s been widespread controversy about a possible connection between vaccines and the soaring autism rates. Some parents of children whose autistic symptoms first appeared shortly after their measles-mumps-rubella immunization are convinced the shot was the cause, but repeated studies have failed to find scientific evidence. Although one small, heavily publicized British study published in 1998 suggested a link, 10 of the 13 authors publicly retracted the findings in March 2004, saying they were unreliable. The study, lead by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, only studied a small sample of 12 kids, eight of whom were diagnosed with autism. By early 2010, the same British journal, The Lancet, that published his findings retracted his study and in January 2011, the British Medical Journal publicly denounced Dr. Wakefield’s research as “fraudulent.” The British Medical Journal announced that Dr. Wakefield had “falsified data” and tampered with his research results to give the MMR vaccine bad publicity. At the time of his study, Dr. Wakefield had been involved in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine and would have gained money if he’d won, making his research an obvious conflict of interest.
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Tip : Create A Personalized Autism Treatment Plan
With so many different treatments available, it can be tough to figure out which approach is right for your child. Making things more complicated, you may hear different or even conflicting recommendations from parents, teachers, and doctors.
When putting together a treatment plan for your child, keep in mind that there is no single treatment that works for everyone. Each person on the autism spectrum is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses.
Your childs treatment should be tailored according to their individual needs. You know your child best, so its up to you to make sure those needs are being met. You can do that by asking yourself the following questions:
What are my childs strengths and their weaknesses?
What behaviors are causing the most problems? What important skills is my child lacking?
How does my child learn best through seeing, listening, or doing?
What does my child enjoy and how can those activities be used in treatment and to bolster learning?
Finally, keep in mind that no matter what treatment plan is chosen, your involvement is vital to success. You can help your child get the most out of treatment by working hand-in-hand with the treatment team and following through with the therapy at home.
They Have Fewer Hidden Agendas
Most of the time, if a person on the autism spectrum tells you what he wants he is telling you what he wants. No need to beat around the bush, second guess, and hope you’re reading between the lines.
This may be due, in part, to the fact that many autistic people are unaware of or baffled by others’ choice to hide their real intentions.
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