Most people have heard of autism in children and the behavioral and social challenges related to it. However, autism can also be diagnosed in adults. Autism is considered a spectrum disorder that includes those with severe symptoms that are unable to care for themselves. It also includes those who are high-functioning and have few noticeable symptoms. High-functioning autism can still have a negative impact on your relationships and emotional well-being. If you are an adult that thinks you might have autism, help is available.
What Is ASD
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that mainly impacts speech, behavior, and social skills. ASD is a spectrum disorder that includes those with extreme speech delays and impairment in social functioning. As well as those who are high-functioning and only experience minimal difficulty in their social lives. Most people show signs of ASD by the age of two. Either by delayed development, or developing normally but then losing skills. Some were not diagnosed as children due to the wide range of ASD symptoms and poor screening. Instead, those with symptoms that were not diagnosed as a child are being diagnosed with ASD as an adult.
Symptoms Of ASD In Adults
ASD is a spectrum disorder that has a wide range of behaviors associated with it. While children who experience symptoms that interfere with their ability to function normally are likely to be diagnosed early. Those who experience milder symptoms and are highly intelligent, but lack appropriate social skills may not be diagnosed then. They usually meet the criteria for what used to be called Asperger’s syndrome. These people may not receive a diagnosis until they are an adult and they struggle in their close relationships. Symptoms in adults with ASD include, repetitive behaviors, following a strict routine, and being uncomfortable with change. Having either too much or too little eye contact is common. It also includes social difficulties, sensory issues, and struggles with empathy, body language, and social cues. People with ASD often experience an exaggerated emotional response.
Impact Of ASD
ASD can impact all aspects of life. While education and work are somewhat affected, relationships are often a big struggle for those with ASD. Developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships can be very difficult when you have ASD. Because of sensory issues, certain environments can be overwhelming for someone with ASD. It can be difficult to socialize and you may turn to drugs or alcohol to make things more comfortable. It is also possible to give up all together and instead ignore others and turn to solitary activities. Once in a committed relationship, it can be hard to understand social cues, body language, and indirect communication. This can cause a lot of problems in your ability to connect with your partner. You could struggle to make friends. It might be difficult to respond appropriately to a loved one’s distress, which can have a negative impact on your relationships.
Diagnosing ASD In Adults
A diagnosis of ASD in adulthood can be a relief, or quite a shock. You may initially seek out a diagnosis at the urging of someone you are close to. Getting a diagnosis of ASD as an adult can be challenging. Even though it may not be easy, receiving a diagnosis of ASD can be useful. It can open up services that can help you better manage some of the symptoms of ASD. Especially those symptoms that are interfering with your ability to function effectively. Although there is no established criteria for diagnosing ASD in adults, an autism center is a good place to start. They may be able to provide you with the resources you need to get a diagnosis. Developmental pediatricians, psychologists, child psychiatrists, or pediatric neurologists that diagnose ASD in children might work with adults as well.
Help For ASD In Adults
Once you receive a diagnosis of ASD, there are some services you could qualify for that might be helpful. Support groups for adults with ASD can enable you to connect with others that understand. They can share tips that they find helpful that could be beneficial to you as well. Treatment for adults with ASD is a little different from treatment for children with ASD. The focus is more on learning strategies for areas of struggle. Since anxiety can be an issue for adults with ASD, individual therapy can help with this. Couples counseling and family therapy can help strengthen your relationships and allow you to work through any trouble spots. Learning about ASD and how it could impact your life and relationships can help you gain new insight. You can also learn new ways to manage your symptoms.
If you believe you might fit the criteria for an ASD diagnosis, you should talk to your doctor or therapist. Receiving a diagnosis might be difficult, but it can also get you the help you need. Proper help can give you the tools to strengthen your relationships and improve your mental health and emotional well-being.