Usually, children who have not been diagnosed as having the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) grow up to become adults with autism. However, autism is a lifelong disorder that will anyway continue into adulthood.
The only difference when diagnosed at an earlier stage is that with therapy, the symptoms and effects of this disorder can be toned down over time. The causes and types of autism may vary among individuals, but it is a condition that one has to live with throughout.
Several symptoms of autism in adults are similar to those of children. Those who are affected by this disorder face problems with developing social skills, language, and further face behavioral problems.
Some more symptoms include:
Failure to make eye contact
Lack of response when their name is called out
Issues with physical contact (even with a handshake)
Failure to start and carry on a conversation
Speaking in a sing-song voice (with their knowledge of a few words or sentences)
Constantly repeating a particular word or sentence
Necessity for assistance to maintain a fixed daily routine
Performing similar movements constantly such as rocking, flapping hands, etc.
Insensitivity to pain
The case however is different for adults with high functioning autism. Those with such a condition find it difficult to fit in with the society at large, as well as the community of those who are autistic. Such adults are able to perform their daily routines independently, and can settle in with a good career, personal relationships and a social life.
However, the subtle characteristics of autism are still prevalent, and some such high functioning autistic adults may appear to be self-absorbed, egoistic, and rude to those who have no knowledge of autism. They may not understand body language, neither may they comprehend humor.
As such, this can affect their careers as well as personal relationships to a certain extent because of the perception of others about them and their behavior. If and when diagnosed, such adults require therapy to overcome these issues over time.
There are different levels of autism and based on the severity of the disorder, adults with autism may be able to lead a particular kind of life. If it is mild, they may be trained to study, develop social skills, and may even find employment that will make them less dependent on families or guardians.
However, those with severe or low-functioning autism may need constant care and attention, and will have to be dependent on the people around them even for their most basic needs.
Activities for Adults with Autism
Adults who suffer from autism are able to enjoy all those activities that those who don't suffer from it do. However, again the intensity of the condition matters in determining how much an autistic adult will be able to do.
Autistic adults are usually engaged in activities that serve to improve their social skills, language skills, communication skills, and enhance the talents that they already possess. All this is necessary as usually those who are autistic are unable to carry out social interaction easily.
These may include developing talents such as drawing, singing, learning music, gymnastics, etc. They may also be engaged in recreational activities such as camping, watching movies, dancing, playing sports, or reading.
A lot of clubs are formed to help autistic adults perform such activities, and by enrolling in one of these they may bring out their natural talents or enhance them further. The methods of teaching autistic children and adults is similar.
Growing Old with Autism
As mentioned earlier, those with high functioning autism may be able to live independently and lead a normal life. However, those with a more severe form of this disorder may face trouble growing old with autism. Those who are autistic are provided assistance with finances as well as shelter, from government agencies and even non governmental organizations.
If a family decides to bring up their autistic child at home, there are funds available by government to bring them up. Furthermore, there are foster homes that take care of adults with autism and other disabilities. Finally, group homes are a good choice for those with autism. Here, professionals are available to take care of needs of these individuals.
Autistic adults who require constant and intensive care may also live in institutions that now offer a host of activities for such individuals, along with taking care of their personal requirements.
It is in fact suggested that adults with low-functioning autism be put in these institutions because their guardians will definitely not be around forever, and one cannot expect someone else to take as good care of the autistic adult as did the guardian. These institutions provide all the facilities needed to take care of such individuals.
Autism in adults can be serious. However, just for your information, there are many famous people with autism too. Woody Allen shows some signs of autism, while Bob Dylan is borderline autistic, and Vincent Van Gogh, the famous artist also exhibited the various signs of autism.
In fact, an Indian boy named Tito Mukhopadhyay who is now 21 years of age was diagnosed with low functioning non-verbal autism. He, however, has written a book of poetry and philosophy that speaks of the effect of autism on his life and world.
At the cost of repetition, how adults with autism deal with life and all that it has to offer depends not only on the severity of the condition, but also on how early the symptoms are diagnosed. Again, there are miraculous cases such as those of Tito Mukhopadhyay.
It is a fact that autism cannot be completely cured, but over time, an autistic person can be made to learn certain necessary habits and traits essential for survival. The sooner it starts, the easier the process will be.