Autism In Adults
Autism in adults is not discussed quite as much as children's autism, a disorder that is now thought to affect rougly one out of every 150 children born. And although treatments are available, autism is not curable and it negatively affects social development and thought processes all throughtout the life of someone who has the disorder. Each person with autism is profoundly different and requires different levels of help.
Autism ranges from mild to severe. Adults with mild autism are defined as high-functioning and those with severe autism are considered low-functioning. Low-functioning adults with severe autism need constant care from their families or within a facility that can address their needs around the clock (which is very expensive).
In contrast, adults with mild autism can lead relatively normal lives. They can live on their own and work, support and care for themselves. This doesn't mean that they don't have challenges. In fact, many high functioning autistic adults see their biggest problem as the way others perceive them and the reactions of other people to their “bizarre” behaviors is often troubling.
How well an autistic adult is able to take care of him/herself is often directly correlated with the quality of education they received as children and how early that education began. If they have been properly taught social responses and accepted behaviors, autistic adults can function as contributing members of society. They can have families, careers, and social lives. Even so, the majority of even high-functioning autistic adults live at home or in residential facilities.
There are autistic adults that have college degrees and are extremely innovative and there are others that require fairly simple jobs in order to succeed. Paying bills, cooking, and other independent behaviors can sometimes be taught. Other times, special services may be required to help independent autistic adults stay independent.
Autism in adults does make things tougher when it comes to finding work. Most autistic adults have limited short-term memory, but superior long-term memory compared to the rest of us. So jobs that require lots of memorization are perfect fits.
Organizations like the Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) provide employment opportunities for autistic adults. They also conduct various job training programs based on the areas of strengths for each particular candidate.
Most will say that autism is difficult to cope with. Social difficulties occur on a daily basis and being unable to adequately mediate responses and situations is not a choice – it is part of who they are. However, with the right amount of support and training, many autistic adults can function in society.
Fortunately, mainstream society is becoming more familiar with autism, especially since the number of autistic children being born is climbing at an alarming rate. Just like people with other disabilities, autism in adults requires special understanding. Being different does not mean being worthless or that autistic adults shouldn't be given a chance for success.