There is plenty of information online on how to determine whether or not a child has autism, as it can be easily recognizable in those as young as 12 months old. What about adults? Adults themselves are not immune to Autism and its effects. If you think you might suffer from Autism, it is important to be aware of its signs and symptoms. If you are routinely asking yourself the question, “Do I have autism?” there are plenty of signs that you can look for to determine if you are living with undiagnosed autism.
Today, there are thousands of adults who suffer from untreated autism and have difficulty finding information and programs to support their needs. Do not let yourself be one of them. In this post, we are going to go over some core signs and symptoms of adult autism to help you answer the question: “Do I Have Autism?”
10 Common Symptoms of Adult Autism
Diagnosing autism in adults can prove challenging, however, there are common symptoms of autism that can be recognized in adults. Here are 10 of them to watch out for. Keep in mind that if you only have one or two of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you suffer from autism. Look for several of these symptoms as a cause for concern.
Few Friendships: Adults who have autism typically find it hard to develop and sustain close relationships and friendships with others. Things such as language limitations, listening difficulties, and idiosyncratic behavior can limit the ability to form friendships. This causes people with Autism to retreat and keep to themselves.
Romantic Difficulties: As with friendships, romantic relationships can be incredibly difficult for individuals with autism to develop. People with autism have trouble reading non-verbal cues and cannot communicate properly, which hinders their success with romantic interaction.
Non-Verbal Challenges: Most people can express themselves and communicate in non-verbal ways if they have to. Adults with autism have significant challenges when it comes to interpretation and displaying types of non-verbal communication. They have trouble maintaining eye contact, interpreting facial expressions, and using motions and gestures.
Sensory Processing: Individuals with autism have either extreme or in-efficient sensitivity when it comes to stimuli. This is known as sensory processing disorder or sensory integration dysfunction. Sensory processing contributes to various social challenges in adults with autism. Interacting and socializing involves new information, smells, sounds, input, and sights, and those with autism are unable to process these sensory details adequately.
Empathy Struggles: Adults with autism struggle with empathy or showing shared sensitivity of feelings with others. They cannot process or understand the perspectives of other people and this will result in a lack of empathy or shared perspective. All of these struggles lead to social problems because adults with autism cannot participate in situations that involve group collaborating or interacting.
Verbal Problems: Up to 40% of adults with autism never learn to speak. This means that adults who have challenges with speaking at their age level may suffer from autism. Some common signs are: having trouble maintaining a conversation, finding challenges expressing their needs, or having trouble processing thoughts.
Uncommon preoccupations and short attention spans: Adults with autism display a limited interest. However, it is important to note that they are extremely knowledgeable with certain topics in areas such as: aviation, engineering, word origins, or history. They usually demonstrate a hyper-focus on an area of particular area of interest, but complete disinterest or inability to follow along with other topics.
Repetitive Behaviors: Adults suffering from autism tend to repeat the same words, phrases, and behaviors throughout the day. This makes their routines and habits very predictable and hinder them in settings where sociability or communication is involved.
Cling to routine: Additionally, adults who suffer from autism cannot seem to stray from their daily routine, as they rely on familiarity. Their need for routine can be displayed in their:
- Dislike or disinterest to travel.
- Inability to try new foods or restaurants.
- Adhering to the same schedule every day.
- Feeling discomfort outside of a daily routine.
- Difficulty changing plans.
Excelling in a particular area: Adults who are autistic display one savant skill where they excel in one particular area. This one area could be anything from math or music to history. They may also demonstrate exceptional memory abilities that allow them to remember large amounts of information.
Anxiety: Individuals who suffer from autism also have trouble with anxiety and sleep problems. According to WedMD, up to 70% of autism suffers have sleep problems. Anxiety also tends to manifest in those with autism, and can include: concentration problems, temper control issues, and depression.
Subgroups of Autism
When you receive a diagnosis in Autism, you will receive a diagnosis based on a particular subgroups. Let’s take a look at the different 5 subgroups to get to know a little bit more about each of them.
Asperger’s syndrome: Individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome display a high functioning level and good verbal skills. Most of their impairment lies in areas of social interactions and their ability to use language in a functional manner. Health professionals are generally hesitant in diagnosing people with Asperger’s because it is likely that this disorder may be considered high-functioning autism in other versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Autistic disorder: Those with Autistic disorder will meet the basic criteria for autism diagnosis that is laid out by the DSM-IV. Their functioning abilities can range from very high to very low.
Pervasive developmental disorder— not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): Individuals who recieve this diagnosis if they have some, but not all, of the characteristics that are defined in classic autism. Their functioning level will generally be moderate to high.
Rett’s syndrome: Those who have Rett’s syndrome are usually female. They display moderate or low functioning levels. If an individual is diagnosed with Rett’s as a child, the disorder will continue to develop as they age and grow into adulthood.
Childhood disintegrative disorder: As seen by its name, childhood disintegrative disorder typically affects children at the toddler and preschooler levels. They generally lose their language and social skills and they will have moderate to low functioning levels.
Treatment for Autism
Special education: People can never stop learning, and if you are diagnosed with autism and still happen to be obtaining an education, then your education can be structured in a way to meet your needs.
Behavior modification: There are plenty of strategies that have been developed to support positive behavior and decreasing problem behaviors in people with autism.
Speech, physical, or occupational therapy: These three types of therapy practices are specifically designed to increase the functional abilities of an individual suffering from autism.
Social skill therapy: Social skills therapy will address such areas as language and social pragmatics in people with autism who suffer from more verbal issues.
Medication: There are currently not any medications currently approved solely for the treatment autism. However, certain medications may be used to treat certain symptoms. These include such medications as: anxiety, hyperactivity, sleep disturbance, and other behavioral medications that may lead to injury.
Knowing some of the common symptoms and facts about autism will help you answer the question, “Do I Have Autism?” If you do, know that your outlook will depend on certain factors, such as the severity of your symptoms and your age. By reading this blog post and learning about adult autism symptoms, you can better help yourself and seek help for treatment.