Up until fairly recently, autism wasn’t getting much attention from anyone – this means there could be many adults living with undiagnosed autism, or perhaps even misdiagnosed as something else. Could this be you?
How can autism go undiagnosed?
It’s easy to miss, because autistic adults have often learned coping behaviours to mask the disorder Zandara download. If you’re wondering whether you, or someone you know, may be on the autism spectrum, take a look at some common symptoms of the disorder in adults.
Take note: just having one or two symptoms does not diagnose autism. If you have more than three, take time to talk to your doctor.
Few Friendships or Relationships. If you find it difficult to listen to others, have unusual behaviour or language limitations, it can severely affect your ability to form friendships or romantic relationships.
Non-Verbal Communication Challenges. Do you struggle to interpret facial expressions and gestures, and find it hard to make and keep eye contact while talking with others? This can leave you with the feeling that you’re missing something when you interact with people, or that you could be misreading them.
Sensory Processing Disorder. If you find that you can’t stand certain sensations or sounds, or that you constantly need a certain kind of sound or smell, you may have ‘sensory processing disorder’. Many people with autism experience extreme over- or under-sensitivity to stimuli, which can pose a major social challenge for adults. If sensory challenges interfere with your ability to interact socially, and also correspond with other symptoms of adult autism, you may be on the spectrum.
Lack of Shared Perspective and empathy. Understanding where other people are coming from can be extremely difficult for anyone with autism. You may struggle to see the perspectives of others, and it’s hard to sympathise with them if you don’t understand what they want, feel, or think. Humour can also be difficult. This lack of perspective-sharing can lead to social complications.
Verbal Communication Problems. Autistic adults may find it challenging to start and hold a conversation, or to make their needs known to others. You might find that the words you want to say simply disappear when you start talking, or that processing your thoughts into spoken language is difficult.
Preoccupation with specific topics or items. Having limited interests is a characteristic of adult autism. Many autistic adults hyper-focus on a specific area of interest. While this extreme focus means that you’re an authority on that topic, it may create social difficulties.
Stereotyped and repetitive behaviours. Repeating the same words, phrases, or behaviours can provide great comfort for autistic adults – the routine is predictable and helps to establish control.
Need for Routine. For autistic individuals many social and communication skills that others take for granted are a mystery. One way to provide predictability is to rely on routines, such as:
- Refusal to try new foods or restaurants
- Following the same schedule and/or route every day
- Feeling great discomfort when you need to deviate from your routine or change plans
- Dislike of travel
Savant Skills. A percentage of autistic individuals show some kind of savant skill. This means that they excel in a particular area, such as music, mathematics, or history. You may have an exceptional memory, allowing you to remember entire chapters and books of information.
Anxiety and sleep problems. Autistic adults often have problems with sleep. This may have more to do with sensory issues than insomnia, and it’s something to keep in mind if you have other autism symptoms. As for anxiety, it can show itself in different ways: concentration problems, difficulty controlling your temper, preoccupation with a topic, or depression.
Taken separately, these symptoms are really just things that most people deal with, but if you display more than three of these characteristics, you can improve the quality of your life by seeing a professional. Speak to your regular doctor about a referral to an autism specialist, or consult a psychologist or psychiatrist – there is plenty of help available to make life easier and better.
Joanne Hart for HelloDoctor.com