Autism in Adults
As an adult going through the material on this website, you may be wondering if you could be autistic yourself. Autism diagnoses have only recently become more accurate, but they mainly focus on detecting it in the early stages of childhood. If you only have mild or high functioning autism, your autism may have been left undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed for something else.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V), the handbook doctors use to diagnose psychiatric disorders, a person is on the autistic spectrum if they show persistent issues with:
The most important thing you can do as a parent/caregiver is to understand the milestones (speech, language, motor) mentioned above and become familiar with the early signs of developmental disorders to provide essential care as soon as necessary.
1. Social communication and interaction, including:
- Emotional understanding
- Understanding of non-verbal communication and body language
- Difficulty developing or maintaining relationships
- Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction
- No expressive vocabulary by 16 months
- No meaningful two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
- Does not respond to name by 12 months
2. Restricted and repetitive behaviour patterns, showing at least 2 recurring symptoms from:
- Does not smile or is not expressive by 6 months
- Repetitive physical movements
- Does not babble by 12 months
- No gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as echolalia or repetitive use of objects)
- Insistence on routine and order
- Restricted and intense interests in a certain subject
- Hyper- or hypo sensitivity to their environment
Examples of symptoms in each category are given here. It is important to note that though each of these symptoms may make your experience of life different, there can be hidden strengths in each of these symptoms if correctly channelled.