Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which effected persons experience persistent challenges for social interaction, communication impairment and repetitive patterns of behaviors or activities.
The use of the word spectrum indicates that it deals with a wide range of difficulties and abilities associated with this disorder.
Who Statistics on Autism
According to WHO statistics every 1 in 159 children are diagnosed with ASD. The ratio of boys affected with ASD is four times more than girls.
The disorder can be diagnosed as early as 2 years of age and it is evident from indicators like delay in language development, socially different interactions and conducts.
Some people diagnosed with ASD exhibits symptoms that make daily routine life and happenings difficult and challenging. Whereas some have mild symptoms that don’t interfere too much with work, school, or relationships, who are considered “high functioning autism”.
Autism is typically diagnosed in early childhood (2-4 years) due to its apparent symptoms but there may be a likelihood that adults with ASD remain undiagnosed until much later in life and such type of persons are considered to have high functioning autism.
They themselves may not be able to notice any disparity from others but people may figure out the change in their behavior. They are often identified as Autistic without intellectual disability and learned to live with their symptoms over the years.
At times a high or low functioning is confused with regard to severity or mildness of autism. A high functioning autistic person may have moderate to severe autism. Similarly, low functioning can have only mild autism.
Signs of high functioning autism in adults is their ability to speak, read, write, and meeting basic life skills like eating and getting dressed. They may live independently and are a lot like anyone else.
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Symptoms of High Functioning Autism
A high functioning adult on the spectrum may show severe to mild symptoms related to communication, emotional recognition, expression and social interaction. Signs and symptoms which are generally associated with high functioning autism are categorized as under: –
- Communication challenges
- Social and behavioral issues
- Repetitive and Restricted Behaviors
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- They find it difficult to participate actively in a conversation.
- Unable to understand body language and facial expression of a person, means they cannot comprehend whether another person is pleased or unhappy with them.
- Discomfort in establishing eye contact while talking to other people.
- Converse in the same tone or manner when at work, home or with friends (robotic style).
- Fond of talking about one or two favorite topics or subjects only.
- Absence of any expression and feeling while talking.
- Unable to understand other’s sarcasm or idioms and take things literally.
- In certain cases, superior abilities in mathematics and associated disciplines.
- Unable to make or maintain a close friendship.
Social and behavioral issues
- Difficulty in regulating emotions and ensuing responses thereafter.
- Find it difficult to cope up with change or variation in daily routine or set pattern of activities and meltdown on happening of any such change.
- Upset by moving or rearranging of their things.
- Extreme sensory issues in spite of high functioning autism. They may show mild, moderate or severe sensitivity to loud noises, smell, bright lights, crowded places and touch.
- Deficiency of executive forecasting abilities. Owing to this ability one can organize and plan daily routine and activities in advance but many persons on high functioning autism spectrum lack in this skill thereby finding it very challenging to plan and manage a household or variation at work.
- They produce Involuntary sounds at places where one needs to maintain quite an atmosphere like clearing of throat unnecessarily and coughing without urge.
- Adults with high functioning autism experience more anxiety, depression and mood disorder than any other person. It is yet not established that mood disorder is due to autism or issues like social refusal or unable to perform normally are the causes of mood disorder.
- In sports or free time, they prefer to choose individual games and activities which may not include a team.
Repetitive and Restricted Behaviors
- They exhibit repetitive and restricted ritual behaviors like continually discussing the same subject matter repeatedly, fixatedly playing the same song constantly or reading articles on the same theme.
- Excessive fixated interests, such as moving or rotating objects or parts of objects which are functioning continuously in the same pattern or same speed.
- Persistent and strong interest in particular areas or field and feel like to concentrate on those eagerly.
The symptoms for high functioning autism may vary from person to person and it is not necessary that every high functioning autistic adult display all symptoms be categorized as autistic.
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High functioning autism and anger
Anger is a universal human emotion and all neurotypical human beings may feel angry at any time and manage it according to the situation.
High functioning autistic adults on the spectrum are also prone to anger but the anxiety and distress level, as a result, is worrisome because of lack of expressing the feeling of disturbance. As they are unable to modulate the anger appropriately therefore it leads to problems in social interaction.
Anger in autism is not very long-lasting and it appears and vanishes in a moment. A high functioning autistic adult may be calm immediately after the outbursts of anger or rage.
At times adults on the spectrum may not agree that they have any trouble with their anger management instead they blame others for provoking it.
Common Causes of Anger in High Functioning Autism Adults
- Once flooded with multiple tasks at one time. Nowadays multi-tasking in our daily life chores is very common which is very stressful for an autistic person.
- Sensory stimulation like loud noises, bright lights or any strong smell.
- Inappropriate behavior of other people. If they are ignored or listen to insensitive comments or remarks from others.
- Disruption of routine and pattern of activities.
- Intolerance towards inadequacies of others. They find it difficult to tolerate imperfections like speaking too fast, high pitch voice or big noises of others.
- Once not acknowledged or appreciated for their talent and capabilities.
- Accumulation of stress due to any above-mentioned causes or any other reasons.
Treatment of High Functioning Autism in Adults
The autism in any form cannot be cured therefore the main purpose of any treatment is to deliver a framework to recognize your problems and strengths.
The treatment of high functioning autism in adults is useful for refining the ability to steer world challenges. It may reduce anxiety, improves functional skills, and help to manage emotions appropriately.
The treatment for adults on the autism spectrum is different than children but at times they may be treated with cognitive, verbal and applied behavior therapy.
However most commonly their treatment is limited to specific fields based on individual challenges or difficulties like social isolation, relationship problems or job difficulties.
The following assistance may be sought for treatment of high functioning autism in adults: –
- Voluntary sessions with psychiatrists trained for autism treatment for medical evaluation.
- Therapies by psychologists and social workers at individual or group levels.
- Counseling sessions for any ongoing issues.
- Taking medicine prescribed by registered physicians for medical issues like anxiety, depression or others.
Many high functioning adults on spectrum benefitted through online support groups and meeting with other adults on spectrum facing challenges which are known as ‘do it yourself therapy’.
If an adult on the spectrum with mild symptoms is facing the trials of the world successfully then he doesn’t need any treatment.
Activities for High Functioning Autism
You can manage your life by following a structured routine. Engage in activities that help in regulating emotions. like physical activities will help in channelizing energies. These activities are recommended for u:
- Riding a cycle
- Walking in a park
- Listening to soft music
- Reading a book
- Deep breathing
- Organizing your cupboards
- Writing a journal
- Hot bath
Healthy activities will help you in spending a good day. You should avoid crowded noisy places. Sensory overload will create problems for you. Social interaction with strangers Can be taxing for you. These activities should be avoided
- Crowded places
- Strong smells
- Loud noises
- Change in routines
- Regular interaction with strangers
Autism is not considered as a disease and if any adult diagnosed with high functioning Autism then he must seek treatment if required.
The treatment will help to improve the quality of life and ease in navigating the world challenges.
The awareness about ASD is growing continuously and more comprehensive diagnostic criteria for adults are put into place besides new resources and treatments will also continue to become available in the future.
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