Autism Symptoms in Adults: Understanding the Signs

Autism Symptoms in Adults: Understanding the Signs

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects individuals in various ways. While it is often diagnosed in childhood, some individuals may not receive a diagnosis until adulthood.

The symptoms of autism can be different in adults than they are in children, and it is important to understand these differences to provide appropriate support and intervention. In this article, we will explore the signs and symptoms of autism in adults, including how they may present differently than in children.

Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Before diving into the symptoms of autism in adults, it is important to understand what ASD is. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior.

It is considered a spectrum disorder because the symptoms and severity can vary greatly from person to person.

Some individuals with ASD may have significant difficulties with communication and social interaction, while others may have mild symptoms and excel in certain areas.

Autism Symptoms Adults

Diagnosing Autism in Adults

Diagnosing autism in adults can be challenging as many of the symptoms and common traits may be attributed to other conditions or simply thought of as personality traits.

Additionally, many adults with autism may have learned to mask their symptoms in social situations, making it difficult to identify their struggles.

However, with appropriate assessment and evaluation, a diagnosis of autism can be made in adulthood.

Common Symptoms of Autism in Adults

While the symptoms of autism can vary widely, there are some common signs and behaviors that may be present in adults with autism.

Some of these symptoms include:

Difficulty with Social Interaction

One of the hallmark symptoms of autism is difficulty with social interaction. This can include a lack of interest in socializing, difficulty making and maintaining friendships, and trouble interpreting social cues.

Repetitive Behaviors

Many individuals with autism engage in repetitive behaviors or routines. These can include things like rocking back and forth, hand flapping, or lining up objects in a specific way.

Sensory Sensitivities

Individuals with autism may also have sensory sensitivities, meaning they may be hypersensitive to certain sounds, textures, or lights. Conversely, they may also be under-responsive to sensory input.

Difficulty with Communication

Difficulties with communication are another common symptom of autism. This can include a delay in language development, difficulty with nonverbal communication, and trouble understanding sarcasm or figures of speech.

Specific Interests

Individuals with autism may have specific interests or obsessions that they are highly focused on. They may spend a significant amount of time learning about or engaging in these interests.

How Autism Symptoms May Present Differently in Adults

How Autism Symptoms May Present Differently in Adults

While the symptoms of autism are generally the same in children and adults, they may present differently in adults. Some ways in which autism symptoms may be different in adults include:

Masking

As mentioned earlier, many adults with autism have learned to mask their symptoms in social situations, known as autistic masking. They may have developed coping mechanisms that allow them to appear more socially adept than they actually feel.

Burnout

Adults with autism may also experience autistic burnout, particularly if they are in a social or sensory overwhelming environment for an extended period of time. This can lead to exhaustion, difficulty with sensory processing, and difficulty with social interaction.

Late Diagnosis

Many individuals with autism do not receive a diagnosis until adulthood. This can be due to a lack of understanding of the disorder, misdiagnosis, or simply not presenting with significant enough symptoms earlier in life.

Supporting Adults with Autism

Supporting Adults with Autism

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have autism, it is important to seek out a professional evaluation for diagnosis and support. There are also many ways in which individuals with autism can be supported in adulthood, including:

Therapy

Therapy can be a valuable tool for individuals with autism, particularly in helping them develop social skills and coping mechanisms for sensory overload.

Accommodations

Accommodations can also be made in the workplace or educational setting to support individuals with autism. This can include things like providing a quiet workspace, allowing for frequent breaks, and providing clear communication.

When you are diagnosed, it can be very helpful to discuss your needs and workplace accomodations with your employer to support you in your career development.

Support Groups

Support groups can provide a sense of community and understanding for individuals with autism and their families. They can also be a valuable source of information and resources.

FAQs Adult Autism Symptoms

Questions About Autism in Adults

Can autism be diagnosed in adults?

Yes, autism can be diagnosed in adults with appropriate assessment and evaluation.

What are some common symptoms of autism in adults?

Common symptoms of autism in adults include difficulty with social interaction, repetitive behaviors, sensory sensitivities, difficulty with communication, and specific interests.

How can adults with autism be supported?

Adults with autism can be supported through therapy, accommodations in the workplace or educational setting, and support groups.

Can autism symptoms present differently in adults than in children?

Yes, autism symptoms can present differently in adults than in children. For example, adults may have learned to mask their symptoms or may experience burnout in overwhelming environments.

Is there a cure for autism?

There is currently no cure for autism, but early intervention and support can lead to improved outcomes and quality of life.

Conclusion

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that can affect individuals in various ways. While it is often diagnosed in childhood, some individuals may not receive a diagnosis until adulthood.

The symptoms of autism in adults can be different than in children, and it is important to understand these differences to provide appropriate support and intervention.

By recognizing the signs and seeking out professional evaluation, individuals with autism can receive the support and accommodations they need to thrive.

Back to blog

2 comments

All I wish is that I found this on time. Well, not like I already didn’t know I was autistic, but I was more afraid of my partners finding out at the time that it ended up being a reason for the split. More people need to see this.
Melody Puffin

Thank you for outlining the symptoms that adults with autism might experience. I watched an interview with a woman who was detailing her experience of finding the proper healthcare professional and going through the evaluations. Understanding the experiences of individuals with ASD is crucial to eliminate the unfortunate stigmas in our society.

Shanice Carr

Your Voice Matters

1 of 3

Home / Autism Blog / Autism Symptoms in Adults: Understanding the Signs