When reading autistic adult’s blogs, I learned the names of authors which some recommended, and also found that many of the bloggers went from blogging to writing books, so I was able to find a bit of help there. I continue to search for new authors and new studies being done, and all the blogs I follow give me clues. Amazon .com and other online resources , including private publishers are beginning to come up with an amazing amount of information. They have realized that we are out here, and are beginning to respond to the requests for more information. Here is a sort of capsule list of some of the things I learned about autism in older adults. It does not show up quite the same as in children. Many of us have learned to adapt, compensate, adjust, and camouflage our autistic traits. It might not be immediately obvious to others that we are “on the spectrum”.
Autism in the United States no longer has Asperger’s to define higher functioning autism. The diagnosis criteria allow the choice of 4 various levels of autistic function, based on how much support the diagnosed person needs. Level one is considered highest functioning, and those diagnosed may need little support in most areas of life, but still may require some adjustments to workplaces or living arrangements. See “DSM autism diagnosis” in any search feature (Google, MSN, etc) for more info. Other countries use Asperger’s as a diagnostic classification still. It gets confusing if you are discussing Autism with people from other countries.
I learned that Autism has 3 main features used when diagnosing.
Number One : Difficulty with social interactions.
Two : Difficulty reading non verbal social cues
Three: Difficulty in having and keeping relationships with others, or lack of interest in doing so.
I will discuss these in more detail soon. There is a lot more diagnostic criteria:
- Repetitive or stereotypical movement, speech, behaviors
2. Lack of flexibility- any of these; insisting on sameness in clothing, arrangement of furniture, food eaten, daytime or night time routines, saying the same phrases or word in certain circumstances, echolalia (repeating words after somebody) for example.
3. Strongly focused interests or desire to focus only on a few specific interests and activities, repeatedly returning to these and the focus is ‘abnormally intense’
4. Highly sensitive to sensory input, or almost oblivious to it, or both… light sensitivity, reacting strongly to images or noises or to physical contact, for example. Or getting injured and not noticing, some people might insist on wearing the same clothing winter and summer and not noticing the heat or cold, for example. Unusual or extreme reaction on either end of sensory issues may be an autistic feature.
If you are reminded of your own self while reading these, yes, maybe you are autistic, too.