High Functioning Autism Often Missed in Adults

Autism is a disorder that is diagnosed by looking at certain symptoms, predominately in children.  When a doctor is looking at a child to determine whether or not an individual has autism, they are looking at symptoms such as repetitive behaviors, extreme difficulty or lack of socialization,  impaired communication and several other symptoms that are usually less intense and obvious.

What, though, of individuals who have not been diagnosed and are now adults?  These individuals missed the “window of opportunity” and some of them have been high functioning enough to get through life without too many issues.  They might have some quirks, such as counting and re-counting silverware or putting books or other items into exact order and re-checking them over and over to make sure they are staying that way.  These mannerisms could be attributed to a variety of things in any adult – especially if the rest of their life looked pretty normal.  They might just be considered a bit eccentric in some ways.

Too often, however, these are undiagnosed symptoms of high functioning autism that have been missed because there were no overwhelming symptoms at the age when most people are diagnosed – around 2 to 4 years of age.  Some children are diagnosed later, however, there is usually very little attention to diagnosis in teens – especially late teens – and adults.  In fact, because of this, there can be either no diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, attaching the symptoms to another mental health issue such as social anxiety disorder or depression incorrectly.

More attention is now being paid to adults that show symptoms of autism.  Researchers have discovered information that can help, and doctors are looking more closely at symptoms that just don’t quite fit into other areas of mental health. 

It is essential that adults with autism are able to get the attention and treatment they need to help them to lead balanced and normal lives.  The fact that more information has become available and more physicians and other mental health professionals are looking for the issues and answers for these individuals will lead to more fulfilling lives for adults with autism.

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