The diagnosis of autism in adults is still a reality. Find out the most common forms of manifestation of this condition.
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It is estimated that around the world there are about 70 million people with autism, that is, approximately 1% of the world’s population. These figures naturally include the autism in adults.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of diagnoses of autism in children, due to the fact that professionals are more aware of this condition than they were in the more distant past.
This means that many children and young people grew up without any specific monitoring, knowing only that they had autism as adults. Consequently, this circumstance can harm the well-being and daily life of these people, without realizing the exact cause for such a situation.
Autism in adults: the different spectrums worth knowing
The symptoms of autism in childhood may not be exactly the same as those manifested in adulthood and this is, from the outset, an aspect to be taken into account. In addition, there are milder and more profound autism conditions, which will also interfere with the expressed symptoms.
Some very general characteristics of autism can be:
- not understanding facial expressions, such as a certain look, for example, that intend to convey a message and serve as a signal;
- have difficulty understanding metaphors, ironies and sarcasm;
- have little empathy for subtle expressions of sadness, anger, boredom, or joy;
- assuming a naive posture and having difficulty recognizing evil or “ulterior motives” in the behavior of others;
- having difficulty relating to others, in the sense of socializing;
- showing a low level of affection and a certain difficulty in accepting affection from the other, particularly if it involves physical contact;
- not exposing feelings, nor being able to understand others easily;
- show difficulty in putting yourself in the position of others;
- show difficulty in dealing with everything that is abstract: sensations, intuitions, ideologies,…;
- take a practical and objective view of life;
- like to talk about very specific topics, without being able to understand whether or not others are interested in these subjects;
- have a very direct and sincere language, without filters or euphemisms;
- tend, also, to adopt a very formal language, even if the context does not justify it;
- enjoy working alone more;
- tend to have low school performance or, then, be very good in some areas and very bad in others;
- dealing poorly with change in general;
- appreciate tools, instruments, technological and material mechanisms;
- avoid noisy environments with a lot of movement;
- being more sensitive to certain clothing fabrics and to certain aromas and textures of certain foods;
- have greater sensitivity to light and touch.
Autism in adults who have achieved more or less regular social integration, studying, working, forming a family and relationships,… can be translated more into areas such as interaction and social communication.
For example, in these cases, we can be attentive to some dificultiessuch as:
- communicate normally;
- establish eye contact;
- obey rules;
- change aspects of your routine;
- be interested in only one very specific subject;
- have difficulty making and maintaining relationships.
When the autism condition is considered severe, then these individuals may find it difficult to build a structured life, needing special monitoring and care and even, in some cases, hospitalization.
In this situation, the diagnosis is even more important, as it allows detecting whether the autism picture includes other problems, such as intellectual disability, epilepsyamong other mental disorders.
low functioning autism
This is one of the most serious types of autism, as individuals suffering from this condition:
- they need support for basic daily activities, such as going to the toilet, getting dressed, eating, doing their personal hygiene;
- have verbal communication problems, and may even not speak at all or repeat only words, without meaning or intention;
- have impaired mental or cognitive functioning, with difficulty understanding and interacting with what surrounds them;
- do not make eye contact;
- they fail to have appropriate social behaviors and may unintentionally pose a risk to themselves and others.
- they adopt an atypical posture and motor coordination, with behaviors such as waving their arms or hands, biting objects or salivating, for example;
- have difficulty chewing, regularly choking.
Autism and Hyperfocus
Although they may have some level of dependency, this autism spectrum allows for more autonomy. Yet individuals with this condition:
- have some difficulty in verbal communication, with repetitive language and meaningless phrases;
- have normal or subnormal mental functioning;
- avoid eye contact;
- they adopt some atypical behaviors, such as running around themselves or others;
- choose a theme as their favorite and about which they know everything;
- have difficulty socializing and interacting.
Treatment of autism in adults
Despite not having a cure, nor being seen as a disease, adults with autism can benefit from some therapies, such as therapies:
- behavioral cognitive;
- speech therapy and voice imposition.
already the adults with moderate or severe autism must do:
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy
- Facilitated Communication therapy, among other therapies that stimulate interaction, behavioral adjustment and communication through graphic symbols, drawings and signs;
- individual therapy at specific autism centers;
- specialized assistance in carrying out simple and basic everyday tasks.
All these therapies can help these individuals to acquire greater autonomy, overcoming some of their limitations or difficulties. In addition to improving their quality of life, this benefits the people around them, as well as contributing to the social inclusion of adults with autism.