As an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy provider for children on the autism spectrum, we often tend to focus on autism in children. However, autism is a lifelong experience that can affect adults in a variety of ways. If you’re a parent of a child on the spectrum, you may find yourself wondering- how will autism affect my child’s adult life? In this post, we’ll discuss autism in adulthood and specifically how autism’s symptoms and related conditions can affect adults.
Autism’s Symptoms Defined
Autism can impact people from every race, gender and socioeconomic background. Though it is more often diagnosed over some groups compared to others, many of the symptoms people on the spectrum will experience can be similar. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Challenges with social interaction and communication
- Sensitivity to sensory stimulation
- Challenges with verbal/non-verbal communication
- Repetitive behavior and general issues with behavioral and developmental skills.
These issues displayed in children can be tell tale signs that they’re on the autism spectrum. If a child experiences these challenges in their early life, they can be likely to still struggle with these same symptoms in adulthood as well.
Adults who experience the challenges above in childhood tend to display much more subtle versions of those symptoms as they age. If the child is enrolled and succeeds in structured early intervention the symptoms they experience in adulthood can appear virtually non-existent, depending on their initial severity. For example, adults may experience symptoms like:
- Issues with certain task management and prioritization, akin to attention deficit or ADHD.
- Issues with peer to peer and business oriented communication, specifically caused by or laced with intense anxiety.
- Issues with keeping up conversations and a general perceived lack of interest or empathy.
- A strict adherence to daily routine or obsession with specific, limited topics of interest.
Of course, these occurrences are not strict indicators that an adult is on the spectrum. Instead, much of the symptoms and conditions associated with autism in adults manifest themselves this way in their day-to-day.
Navigating Adulthood with Autism
Despite these challenges, many adults with autism go on to lead very fulfilling and independent lives. Some individuals won’t even be diagnosed until they are adults. As adults, it can be much easier for individuals on the spectrum to take managing their symptoms into their own hands. They are more readily able to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zone to work on communication and any other issues they face. Many adults with autism will go on to use their talents and interests in a self-sustaining career. Ultimately, early intervention and behavioral therapy earlier in life can be crucial to an independent and happy lifestyle.
For more ABA and autism related news and tips visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! If you have questions regarding ABA therapy services or you’re interested in visiting one of our locations, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page. We’re always here to answer your questions and support your family’s needs as best as we can.