Adult Autism – Challenges & Tips to Overcome

Individuals with autism do not have the same set of symptoms. Known as a spectrum of disorders, autism has a variety of signs and symptoms that differs in severity levels. ‘High functioning’ adults with autism may simply feel something ‘different’ about them, but may not be able to pinpoint exactly ‘why’. People around them may witness them behaving differently, but they themselves may not notice their odd behavior.

Autism in adults is reflected by social and behavioral challenges faced by the individuals. The signs include:  

Communication Barriers

Communication issues of autism in adults depend on how they deliver and understand verbalize and non-verbal information

  • Trouble understanding cues like body language and facial expressions
  • Difficulty in taking part in a two-way conversation
  • Trouble understanding  other people feeling
  • Speak in a monotone, or robot-like patterns
  • Create imaginative words and phrases
  • Avoid eye contact when speaking
  • Talk non-stop about the topics they like
  • Difficulty in building a friendship bond

Behavioral Difficulties

  • Trouble controlling emotions
  • React sharply to a sudden change in routines or when the furniture is moved or rearranged
  • Indulge in repetitive actions
  • Cannot maintain silence in a ‘quiet zone’

Additional Signs

  • Although autism in adults may make them lag behind in a few areas, still they are deeply knowledgeable in specific areas of their interest such as books, film, hobby, maths, etc.  
  • Adults with autism may find few academic subjects challenging, but can get good marks in others
  • They are sensitive to sensory input like sound, touch, noise, and smell
  • Find difficulty working in coordination
  • Prefer to play and work alone

Tips On Triumphing Over The Challenges

Adults with autism have both abilities and disabilities which make life a ‘challenge’ for them. Providing them the best possible treatment and intervention helps in regaining some of their lost skills. When working with them, they need compassion, understanding, patience, and love from those around them.

When working with adults having autism remember to:

Stay Calm

Adults with autism often get panicky or upset for no reason. It is important to maintain peace and serenity in their surroundings.  At times, raised voices and noise can make them hyper. Use of soft tone and activities that interest them soothe them, and also help in distracting their attention from the disorganized environment.

Do Not Force Communication

One of the common traits of autism in children as well as an adult is their struggle to communicate. Some of them speak with a very ‘high level’ of vocabulary while others may use signs or sounds to express themselves. When working with them, use direct and simple language, allow ample time for the person to respond, avoid the use of idioms (eg., ‘ a penny for your thought’) and sarcasm. 

Give Them Their Required Space

Adults with autism do not like to be hugged or stroked and also experience sensory overload. It is important to understand their feelings and avoid physical gestures and show kindness through praises and gifts.

Seek Support

The life of an adult with autism can be challenging. Autism Connect is an online support group for people with autism that provides available services and advices to build a better life. To know more about Autism Connect:

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