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Early Signs of Autism in Adults

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People living with autism spectrum disorder, both children and adults, explore and experience the world in their own unique way. Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that has impacts on a person’s social and cognitive abilities. As this is a disorder characterized as being on a spectrum, there are rarely two people with autism that have shared experiences. Each person has their own unique challenges and successes within their diagnosis — and it’s important that both aspects are recognized and honored.

When a person is living with autism, it’s critical for them and their loved ones to have knowledge and awareness about the symptoms and impacts of autism to support them to thrive and have a happy, fulfilling life. Read on to learn more about the Signs of autism in adults.

What Causes Autism?

There is no specific cause for autism spectrum disorder. There has been research that suggests there are certain risk factors that have been linked to ASD. Risk factors include:

Genetic risk factors: Research indicates that there is a higher probability for families living with autism to pass it on to children. While this is not a direct link to autism, it can increase the risk for some children.
Environmental risk factors: This includes factors such as advanced parent age, pregnancies spaced within one year of each other, and pregnancy or birth complications.
Premature birth: Preterm babies can have an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.

Other medical conditions: Children with certain medical conditions can have an increased likelihood of developing autism.


What Are the Signs of Autism in Adults?

There is a common misconception that autism is always diagnosed in childhood. While the hope is to have early detection and diagnosis of autism, there are times when children grow up without a diagnosis. Some of the common signs of the types of autism in adults can include the following:

  1. Difficulty regulating emotions.
  2. Challenges with making conversation.
  3. Experiencing challenges in making or keeping friendships.
  4. Having discomfort with making eye contact.
  5. Inflexible thought patterns.
  6. Demonstrating repetitive behaviors.
  7. Difficulty relating to people and understanding others’ emotions. 
  8. Social anxiety. 
  9. Only have interest in a few, limited activities.
  10. Showing extreme interest in one particular hobby or topic. 
  11. Having a preference for solo activities. 
  12. Making involuntary noises, such as clearing the throat or making certain sounds. 
  13. Difficulty reading or understanding body or facial language. 
  14. Inability or struggle to understand sarcasm. 
  15. Frequent monologues or talking about certain topics. 
  16. Challenges dealing with change. 
  17. Reliance on the need for a daily routine. 
  18. The need to rearrange items in a certain order. 
  19. Being hypersensitive to certain sounds or smells. 
  20. Substantial visual or auditory learning skills. 
  21. Increased knowledge and expertise in certain subjects, such as math, science, or music.
  22. Retaining information quickly and remembering information for long periods of time. 


Early Signs Of Autism in Adults


How Are Autism Spectrum Disorders Diagnosed in Adults?

Autism is often diagnosed in childhood; however, if you or someone you know thinks they may be living with one of the types of autism in adults, there are steps you can take to get formally diagnosed. The first step if you believe you may be living with autism is to speak with your doctor about the signs or symptoms that you’re experiencing. Your physician can provide you with referrals to speak with a psychiatrist or neuropsychologist that can complete a formal autism spectrum assessment. An assessment for autism diagnosis may include speaking with a psychologist about your childhood experiences socially, in school, and with developmental growth and stages. You may also be asked to explore how your adulthood experiences have been thus far.

Another part of the ASD assessment can include psychiatric testing or going to a speech pathologist who will assess your social and communication skills. All information collected will be used to determine if you have autism spectrum disorder.

What Are The Top 4 Types of Autism in Adults:

1. Asperger’s Syndrome

This form of autism, also known as Level 1 autism spectrum disorder, is characterized by high levels of intelligence and strong verbal communication. Challenges that adults living with Level 1 autism might face include challenges in switching activities, executive functioning problems, difficulty expressing emotions, difficulties in peer interactions, or inflexibility in thoughts or behaviors.

2. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)

This form of autism is characterized by a delayed onset of developmental problems in social functioning, motor skills, or language. Typically, normal development will occur until it reaches a certain point in the person’s developmental stage, and the person will begin to regress in functioning and capability. 

3. Kanner’s Syndrome

This is often described as “classic autism” by some doctors. People living with Kanner’s Syndrome will appear alert and responsive in conversation and day-to-day activities. Some challenges they may experience include a lack of emotional attachment to others, uncontrollable speech, challenges with communicating or interacting with others, and a high capacity for rote memory but difficulty in learning other areas.

4. Pervasive Developmental Disorder

This is a mild form of autism spectrum disorder that has a range of symptoms centered around language and social development. 


Living with an Autism Diagnosis

People living with an autism diagnosis have the ability to live healthy, fulfilling lives. It doesn’t mean your life stops if you’re diagnosed with autism in adulthood. In fact, many adults that are diagnosed with autism get the unique opportunity to learn more about themselves, their behaviors, and how they interact with the world around them. Often, this provides valuable insight into a person’s past and childhood, including certain challenges that they may have experienced throughout their developing years. It can help to shed light on relationship struggles throughout childhood or during adulthood. These realizations can lead a person down a clear path of treatment and healing to learn effective behavior and emotional regulation techniques that will assist them in thriving in the future. As you reflect on your past, you can identify what has worked for you before and get to know your strengths so you can utilize these strengths and abilities moving forward in your life. 

Is Treatment Available for the Types of Autism in Adults?

Yes, there are autism treatment in Irvine or any of our other locations in California available for adults with autism that can vary in styles and focuses for treatment and behavior management. It’s important to mention that treatment for autism is not intended to be a cure but rather a tool for managing any symptoms and maintaining healthy emotional, behavioral, and developmental functioning. There are various forms of therapy that work to target specific symptoms or areas of concern, such as communication, social interactions, or behavioral patterns. A Mental Health therapist can help you identify these habits or challenges and learn tools to overcome any barriers you’re experiencing. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may also wish to participate in vocational rehabilitation that aims to support you in developing or gaining workplace-related skills. 

Alter Behavioral Health Offers Support for All Types of Autism in Adults

At Alter Behavioral Health, we value the incredible strengths and assets that adults living with autism bring to this world. We know that as an adult who is just receiving a diagnosis of autism, it can feel overwhelming to figure out what your next steps are. Our team is here to help you receive the appropriate therapies and support you need to help you prosper and thrive in your day-to-day life and shine your beautiful insight and soul to the world around you. Contact Alter Behavioral Health today to let our team work alongside you to give you the tools and support you need to have the fulfilling, prosperous life you want. We can help with all of the types of autism in adults. Call us today at today to learn more.

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