Autism diagnosis is more common as a child than as an adult, but it does happen. And while we know that 1 in 68 children in the US is affected by autism, we don’t know how many adults are living with the condition and how. There is very little information on adults with autism.
Every child grows to adulthood, then what?
“It is a real issue and autism is still seen very much as a child’s condition. But of course every child with autism does grow up to be an adult with autism,” noted Carol Povey, director of the Center for Autism at the UK’s National Autistic society. “In fact, one of the areas which is very poorly understood at the moment is that they turn into older people with autism.” Autism has only recently been identified as a disease and is still undergoing study. For many older adults on the spectrum, the diagnosis simply wasn’t there when they were children.
Adults could benefit from services as well
A research team recently found that 4000 studies had been done on adult autism, compared to 12,000 o on children’s autism. “Our understanding [of autism] is growing,” Povey explained, “but most of the services and facilities and the understanding around diagnoses are with children. When people move into adulthood, most services are poorer and the understanding is poorer because our portrayal of autism is still with children.” Claudia Curry, founder and executive director of the Asperger’s Syndrome & Autism Research and Rehabilitation Insititute, set up her program specifically to help adults and their families with the challenges of autism. She was diagnosed with the disorder when she was 48 years old.
Which services would do the most good?
“There is very little research that has been done worldwide looking both at the way autism affects adults and the impact it really has on their lives what sort of support and services would make the greatest difference,” said Povey. “That is the really important thing for adults on the autism spectrum; ‘What is going to help me?’ – and for parents – ‘what is going to help my child?’ not only when they are 5, 7, or 8 years old, but when they are 30, 40, or 50, parents may not be there to do that for them.”
Source: Honor Whiteman/MedicalNewsToday
Photo by Mark Englebrecht at flickr.com