In this brief blog, we will be talking about autism in adults, the difference of autism in adults and children, the treatment for autism in adults, and more information about autism in adults.
Symptoms of autism in adults
The following are the symptoms of autism in adults that may or may not be found in children:
Core symptoms of autism in adults
Typical symptoms of autism in adults are the following:
- finding it difficult to comprehend what others are thinking or feeling in a social situation
- getting very worried about social situations almost all the time
- finding it difficult to make friends or prefer to be on your own almost all the time
- seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to in almost all social situations
- finding it difficult to say how you feel to other people
- taking things very literally such as you may not comprehend sarcasm or phrases like (break a leg) stated by other people
- having the same routine daily and getting very worried if it changes almost all the time when someone tries to change it
Other symptoms of autism in adults
There might also be other symptoms such as the following:
- not comprehending social norms such as not talking over people almost all the time
- preventing eye contact in social situations
- getting too close to other people or getting very upset if someone touches or gets too close to you almost all the time
- observing small details, patterns, smells or sounds that others do not almost all the time
- having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities almost all the time
- liking to plan things carefully before doing them almost all the time
Autism in women and men that might affect adult life
Autism in adults can sometimes have some distinctions between men and women. For instance, women tend to be more silent when they are faced with social situations.
This is one of the reasons why women tend to not be diagnosed with this psychological disorder even though they really have it.
Advantages of getting a diagnosis of autism in adults
Some people see a diagnosis of this psychological disorder as a prejudice against people with this kind of psychological disorder but there are some reasons why this diagnosis can be good for you such as the following:
- it may help you and your family, partner, employer, colleagues and friends to comprehend why you may experience certain complications and what you can do about them in daily life
- it may correct a previous misdiagnosis such as schizophrenia and mean that any mental health complications can be better addressed, however, it can be complicated to make a diagnosis of this psychological disorder if you have chronic mental health concerns or if you are having a psychological intervention right now
- it may help you to get availability to necessary services and advantages because of having this kind of psychological disorder
- you will be entitled to have reasonable adjustments made by your employer, college or university due to some necessities needed to be met by your psychological disorder
- it may help women and those with a demand avoidant profile who may not before have been known to have this kind of psychological disorder by others
- you can join the community for this kind of psychological disorder but you don’t need to be diagnosed to join an online community or subscribe to the Asperger United magazine but you might need a diagnosis to join some social groups for people with this psychological disorder.
You might just be diagnosed with this kind of psychological disorder for a sense of self-belief on your part but you need to recognize that the knowledge of your diagnosis can lead you to learn more about what to do to take care of yourself and help you adapt to the world around you.
The process of getting a diagnosis of autism in adults
This kind of psychological disorder tends to be different with different adults. This can also lead to its diagnosis being different depending on the medical professional you are getting this diagnosis from.
You can ask your general practitioner for a referral if you might be diagnosed with this kind of psychological disorder but you might be diagnosed by a mental health professional which can lead you a self-referral instead.
Stage 1 (talk to your GP)
You need to register for an appointment with your general practitioner. You only need to talk about your diagnosis with your general practitioner and nothing else since the general practitioner can’t address that for you.
Stage 2 (present your medical case)
Your general practitioner would need a reason from you on why you need to be diagnosed with this psychological disorder including some symptoms that you have noticed about yourself or how the benefits can help you once you are diagnosed.
Explaining your current situation
You could tell your general practitioner that you have been studying about this psychological disorder. You can say that you have noticed some aspects of yourself that might indicate you are suffering from this psychological disorder.
It would even be more verifiable if you have recorded your abnormal behaviours or bring a trusted person with you.
The responsibilities of your GP
Not all general practitioners will have knowledge of how to deal with people who have this psychological disorder. You need to be clear on how referral processes work when it comes to people with this psychological disorder.
In England, your general practitioner should be complying to the NICE guideline 142 and be aware of the statutory guidance obligating a clear diagnosis pathway for adults. In Northern Ireland, your general practitioner should be complying the NICE guideline 142 and be aware of the Northern Ireland Autism Strategy and Action Plan in the referral process towards treatment.
In Wales, your general practitioner should be complying to the NICE guideline 142 and be aware of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Strategic Action Plan for adults with this psychological disorder. In Scotland, your general practitioner should be complying to the SIGN guideline 145 and be aware of the Scottish Strategy for Autism for adults with this psychological disorder.
Stage 3 (getting a referral)
When your general practitioner agrees to refer you, they will recommend you to a mental health professional who is experienced in dealing with people who have this psychological disorder. You can also tell your general practitioner about local services that you might be interested in taking for the treatment of your psychological disorder.
You are referred to a mental health professional but you don’t have to be immediately referred to a mental health team where there are other medical professionals that can help you. Once you have been referred by your general practitioner, you won’t have any connection with your general practitioner anymore.
Where will I be referred to by my general practitioner?
There is a possibility that you might be referred in several services that can help people with this psychological disorder such as a diagnostic service like a clinic or assessment centre in your local Clinical Commissioning Group area in England, your Health Board area in Scotland, your Local Health Board area in Wales or your Health and Social Care Trust area in Northern Ireland depending on your location. You can even be referred to a service that is outside your area which can cost much due to the travelling costs.
You can also be referred to a private service if you can afford this service but some private services can also refer you to an NHS service where it is more affordable.
What if my general practitioner does not refer me for a diagnosis?
When your general practitioner doesn’t want to refer you, you need to ask for the reason. When you don’t want to hear their reason, you can make a second appointment with them.
When you feel like your diagnosis is not right, you can always file a complaint.
Stage 4 (the diagnostic assessment for autism in adults)
Most adults would see a psychiatrist or another mental health professional check their diagnosis with this psychological disorder. They might even search for a multidisciplinary team which can help them find ways of diagnosing the adult and make sure to reach an accurate result.
This diagnosis is not the same as a physical diagnosis where blood tests will be involved to reach a diagnosis of autism in adults.
How will they identify if I am autistic?
These professionals can identify if you are autistic by checking your presenting symptoms which can state that you have this psychological disorder. Prominent symptoms would include having restrictive behavioural patterns or some social impotence on the adult’s part.
There are also some diagnostic tools that they might use to assess you such as tests or behavioural tests that would include you having to role-play about your interactions with people. There might even be interviews made with your loved ones to get the mental health professional an idea of how you interact socially.
When will they tell the result of the assessment?
The professional who is diagnosing you will tell you if you are autistic after the assessment or after several days after the assessment. The professional can also indicate that you might have some form of this psychological disorder.
Diagnostic reports can be difficult to comprehend which is why you should ask the professional if you might not understand some terms in the report.
Stage 5 (coming to terms with the results of the assessment)
If you are told you don’t have autism
Sometimes, adults might get into a situation where they are not considered to have autism while some might face the fact that they have another diagnosis entirely. You can always ask for a second opinion from another mental health professional.
You can also have another assessment but there is still a high chance that the results of the assessment can be the same as the first.
If you are considered to have autism
When you are diagnosed with autism, you might start to have a lot of questions. You can ask the professional on how to get treatment for your psychological disorder.
You should remember that you can’t get support immediately when you are diagnosed with this psychological disorder. You should also ask some help from loved ones if they know people who can help with this psychological disorder since immediate support is important for you.
In this brief blog, we have talked about autism in adults, the difference of autism in adults and children, the treatment for autism in adults, and more information about autism in adults.
If you have any questions about autism in adults, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your queries.
FAQs: autism in adults
Can you develop autism as an adult?
No, you can’t develop autism as an adult. This is because this kind of psychological disorder tends to develop during your early childhood years. This can also qualify you to have this kind of psychological disorder as a diagnosis if you have symptoms when you were in the early childhood years.
What is high functioning autism in adults?
High-functioning autism in adults is considered as people who have some form of this psychological disorder who read, write, speak, and manage life skills without assistance from others. This kind of autism is not an official diagnosis in the manual of mental disorder. This kind of psychological disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that’s characterized by complications in social interaction and communication.
How can I tell if I’m autistic?
You can tell if you’re autistic by knowing the symptoms such as preventing eye contact, dependence on rules and routines, delayed speech and communication skills, being upset by relatively minor changes, complications in understanding other people’s emotions, and unexpected reactions to sounds, tastes, sights, touch, and smells.
Can you be slightly autistic?
Yes, you can be slightly autistic. This is considered as Asperger’s Syndrome but this kind of psychological disorder is not known by doctors or teachers when the adult was still a child. There has been research that shows at least half of the relatives of someone with autism do not have measurable dysfunction in their social and communication skills or behaviour.
How do autistic adults live?
Autistic adults live by living independently which is something most of these affected people prefer the most when they reach adulthood. Although some of these affected people are still assisted by a carer or a parent who can help these affected people. Supported living can help these affected people but not all of them.
National Autistic Society. Autism diagnosis for adults.
NHS. Signs of autism in adults.