When we talk about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) it is quite common to think about the challenges and needs of the little ones. We know that early detection improves the development and quality of life of this group. However, what is autism like in adults? What needs, what type of support and strategies does a man or woman with this neurobiological condition demand?
Since the diagnostic criteria improved in the 1990s, it is not only possible to identify children with ASD in schools. From that decade to this part, many adults have been able to find an explanation for their behavior, a response to their peculiarities and the origin of their personal limitations.
One detail that we cannot forget is the following: we are facing a developmental disorder that encompasses a wide spectrum of characteristics and needs.
We have people with Rett syndrome and Asperger syndrome. We can have highly functional adults with autism and also, who have a greater dependency, with severe communication limitations, problems in social interaction and more pronounced repetitive behaviors. Be that as it may, there is something we must understand.
Psychological care, social assistance and the right to inclusion make up these axes that should never be left aside. The autism in adults is a reality that must be made visible to guarantee to the answers they need. Only then will they achieve that fullness and well-being that every person deserves.
Let’s learn more about it below.
Statistical data tells us that it is quite possible that close to 1% of the population is within the autism spectrum disorder. Early detection and adequate psychological support can improve the future of this broad group of our society.
Autism in adults, what are your needs?
It is important to know that adulthood has been a neglected area of research in better understanding autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fortunately, there has been considerable interest in recent years and now we have more data, more resources and knowledge.
All this translates into a great objective: to offer an individualized and expert response to each person according to their needs. However, within clinical practice we have a problem. There are highly functional adults with autism who are still unaware that they have this condition.
They are independent people, with their work responsibilities and vital projects, who often perceive that something is wrong with them. However, problems in social interaction, hypersensitivity to stimuli and anxiety are often seriously limiting their quality of life. Thus, something we must know is that no two people with ASD have the same characteristics.
However, and beyond the singularities of each one, autism in adults interferes in the daily reality of this broad group. Detection, an early and personalized therapy guarantees changes, improvements and well-being.
So let’s see what challenges they present and what kind of assistance they need.
Consult with psychologists who are experts in ASD (autism spectrum disorder)
If we have an adult relative with autism or if we suspect that we ourselves might be on the spectrum, it is best to consult with an expert professional in this field. What can a licensed psychologist bring us?
- He will perform a comprehensive assessment to identify strengths and, above all, the cognitive, behavioral and emotional needs of the adult with autism.
- Interviews will be conducted with the patient’s social environment.
- Likewise, medical tests will be evaluated to rule out other conditions.
Autism in adults and types of therapy
Psychological intervention in the adult with autism will always depend on their particular needs. Thus, and on average, the following aspects are usually worked on:
- Training in communication and social skills.
- Integration of habits in daily life.
- Modification of certain behaviors to promote their integration, well-being and social behavior.
- Practice of functional routines so that the adult with autism has an adequatefeeling of security and autonomy.
- Promote labor integration.
- Likewise, it is also essential to address dimensions such as anxiety or mood disorders, such as depression. We cannot forget that this type of reality implies facing multiple emotional challenges. Hence, cognitive-behavioral therapy is very appropriate in these cases.
- On the other hand, individual psychotherapy is also key. A man or a woman with ASD needs to improve many of their relationships, be it at an emotional, family and work level.
- We cannot forget either that there are people with autism who have more serious cognitive deficiencies. Behavioral problems can appear, where psychological support is essential.
Support for the family and close environment
Last but not least, talking about autism in adults also implies taking into account the family environment. Fathers, mothers, partners, children… Knowing how to act or simply understand what autism spectrum disorder is is, in turn, a decisive step to facilitate the patient’s life.
In this aspect, psychologists constitute that help and that daily support to which to ask and also with whom to be able to release fears, doubts, anxiety, stress … In essence, the personal reality of this wide group of our society is complex and unique, But there are resources, there are strategies and expert personnel that can help us and facilitate, little by little, a better quality of life.