ADULTS WITH AUTISM
Communication and social problems are very common
with autism, the
most common of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. This often cause
difficulties in many areas of life. In severe cases, a person with
autism may have an intellectual
disability and will need full-time residential care for life.
On the other hand, other individuals will go on to work and raise
a family, although often with various difficulties. Early
intervention does make a significant difference in maximizing
a child's chances of integrating with a non-autistic world when
they reach adulthood.
Far fewer adults with autism marry or have children
than the general population. Even when they do marry it is more
likely to end in divorce than the norm. Furthermore, far fewer autistic
adults live in metropolitan areas than the general population, and
even if they live near metro areas they are more likely going to
experience issues such as bullying and poverty than the norm. Nevertheless,
as more social groups form, progressively more diagnosed adults
are forming relationships with others on the
Similar to deaf culture, autistic
culture is based on a more accepting belief that Autism is a
unique way of being and not a disorder to be cured. There are some
commonalities which are specific to autism in general as a culture,
not just “autistic culture”.
It is a common misperception that autistic people
do not marry; many do seek out close relationships and marry. Often,
they marry another autistic, although this is not always the case.
Autistic people are often attracted to other autistic people due
to shared interests or obsessions, but more often than not the attraction
is due to simple compatibility with personality types, the same
as for non-autistics. Autistics who communicate have explained that
companionship is as important to autistics as it is to anyone else.
Employment and autism
A small proportion of autistic adults, usually
those with high-functioning
autism or Asperger’s
syndrome, are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs,
although frequently far below their actual level of skills and qualification.
Some have managed self-employment; many of those are listed on self-employment
sites such as Auties.org.
Others are employed in sheltered workshops under the supervision
of managers trained in working with persons with disabilities. A
nurturing environment at home, at school, and later in job training
and at work, helps autistic people continue to learn and to develop
throughout their lives.
It is often said that the Internet is a good medium for communication
since it is almost devoid of the non-verbal cues that autistic people
find so hard to interact with. It has given some autistic individuals
an environment in which they can, and do, communicate and form online
communities. The Internet has also provided the option of occupations
such as, teleworking and independent consulting, which, in general,
do not require much human interaction offline.
Effect of autism on income
However autism can be a poverty trap for adults
and young people with autism, many of whom are engaged in unskilled
jobs for which they are overqualified, or they are on welfare benefits.
Many parents of autistic children also face financial difficulties
as they must often pay for essential support and therapeutic services.
Furthermore, people who might qualify for financial assistance in
one country are not eligible in another, because some nations do
not recognize autism as a disability.
accommodation for people with autism
Where a person with autism or Asperger's syndrome
lacks the skills to live independently, the family needs to help
with finding appropriate living arrangements, employment and support
services. The autism or Asperger's Association in your area should
be able to help with contacts for these issues.
Some adults with autism, and especially Asperger's
syndrome, are able to live entirely on their own. Others may require
a degree of support in order to live semi-independently. This support
often comes from the family, but in some countries there may be
government funding and specialist services for this support.
Living with family
In some cases, a family may choose to continue
caring for a son or daughter into their adult years. In some countries
there may be funds provided to assist carers financially, as well
services for breaks.
Some countries fund houses and around-the-clock
support for people with disabilities. These homes are staffed by
professionals who help the individuals with basic needs such as
food preparation, housekeeping, and personal needs. In some cases,
this support may be provided just a few hours each week, depending
on the needs of the residents.
There has been a trend over the past few decades
to assist people with disabilities to live in the community instead
of institutions. However, some institutions still remain for individuals
with very high support needs. Although institutions now have a bad
reputation, the increasing respect for human rights has, for the
most part, given rise to a much more ethical and respectful approach
to care provided in modern institutions.
Well known adults with unspecified types of autism
• Daryl Hannah, American actress (Splash,
Blade Runner and Kill Bill)
• Christopher Knowles, American poet
• Matthew Laborteaux, actor on Little House on the Prairie
• Katherine McCarron, autistic child murdered at the age of three
by her mother.
• Jason McElwain, high school basketball player
• Michael Moon, adopted son of author Elizabeth Moon
• Jasmine O'Neill, author of Through the Eyes of Aliens
• Sue Rubin, subject of documentary Autism Is a World
• Birger Sellin, author from Germany.
to read about autistic culture, politics and community.
Click here to
read personal stories by adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Click here for the full
range of autism and Asperger's fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation. It is derivative of an autism and Aspergers-related
articles at http://en.wikipedia.org