Many people think of Autism as a childhood disorder and not as a possibility for adults. However, there are many adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder that go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and/or without treatment. They often feel like there is something wrong, but are unclear what it might be. Many providers have a limited understanding of adults on the Autism Spectrum and may have difficulty recognizing Autism since it appears different in adults than it does in children.
A major difficulty people are recognizing is the limited information available about Adults on the Autism spectrum. Here are some examples of research areas that has been focused on recently.
- According to the Autism Society, 1% of Adults are on the Autism Spectrum (CDC, 2014).
- In the U.S. it Costs $1.4-$2.4 Million to Care for a Person with Autism Across their Lifespan (Buescher, et al., 2014).
- It’s Estimated that Only 35% of Young Adults (Ages 19-23) have a Job or Continue their Education after High School (Shattuck, et al., 2012)
- Only 16.8% of People with a Disability are Employed (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014)
While this may give us a glimpse of some of the issues facing adults on the Autism Spectrum, it is very limited and doesn’t give us a true picture of the impact Autism has on adults, their family and the community.
Signs of Adult Autism
Primary Autism signs and symptoms in adults may include a variation of some of the following.
Problems with Communication:
- Difficulty Maintaining a Conversation
- Inability to Communicate
- Difficulty Discussing Age Appropriate Topics
- Repetitive Use of Words
- Limited Eye Contact
- Difficulty Interpreting Facial Expressions or Gestures
Problems with Social Interactions:
- Few Relationships or Friendships
- Difficulty Understanding Someone Else’s Perspective
- Difficulty Sharing Someone Else’s Interests
- Limited Empathy or Sympathy
- Difficulty Understanding Other Peoples’ Jokes
Unusual Behaviors, such as:
- Repetitive Movements
- Need for Routines or Rituals
Unique Strengths, such as:
- Musically Gifted
- Superior Vocabulary
- Knowledge of Facts
In addition, there may be problems with:
- Under or Over Sensitivity to Smells, Taste, Touch, Lights, and/or Sounds
Adult Autism Treatment
Adults on the Autism Spectrum have various treatment needs which are dependent on each person’s symptoms. Some treatment needs are: help with getting into college and succeeding in their academics, help attaining and maintaining employment, help with independent living skills and housing, help with social and relationship skills, just to name a few. Often their treatment includes work on other diagnoses as well, such as, anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, Psychosis, Sensory Integration, etc.
How Can The Center for Psychological Health Help?
We provide numerous Adult Autism treatments, programs, and community supports /education all focused on identifying and treating the need areas and strengths of the individual and/or their family.
The following are some of the services provided at The Center for Psychological Health:
- Diagnostic services
- Adult Autism
- Neuropsychological Assessments
- Academic Assessments
- Other Mental Health Diagnoses
- Individual Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy (social, support, etc)
- Career Counseling
- Skills Training
- Social skills Training
- Relationship Skill Building
- Functional Communication Training
- Academic Support
- Employment Support
- Transition Services
- Switching from High School to College
- Transitioning from High School to Work
- Shifting from College to Career
- Moving from Parents’ Home to Independent Living
- Evolving from being Single to a Relationship