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RiRi

Do You Fit the Autistic Symptoms as an Adult?

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RiRi

As adults, some people seem less autistic in some ways. They manage to find ways to cope with things or just somehow end up being a different person than they were as a child. I imagine the symptoms may also fluctuate depending on the state of the person. To fit the autistic criteria and formally get diagnosed, you don't need to have the symptoms as an adult as long as they were there when you were a child.

  • Are the any symptoms that you no longer fit or fulfill in the criteria for a formal diagnosis? If so, what are they and how do you think you over came these symptoms?
  • Do you feel like those symptoms are no longer there as in, they disappeared? Or do they come back from time to time? Or did you find a way to cope with them? If so, how? 

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Nesf

I'm no longer freaked out by loud or sudden noises.

I don't stick so rigidly to routines, and don't have such strict rules around food.

Better social skills (though I still have some difficulties), acquired through masking, experience and exposure to social situations, rather than actual improvement of the symptom.

Better organisational skills - again, an adaptation, an acquired skill.

Better understanding of things like song lyrics and poetry. I sometimes go back to old songs I heard when I was a child or young adult, and actually understand what they are about. I still often misunderstand people or take things literally, though.

Less rigid thinking (affected by anxiety and stress).

For me, and I suspect for many adults on the spectrum, the severity or prominence of traits very much depends on the interplay of other conditions, such as ADHD of which I have traits, or OCD or anxiety and depression. These intensify autistic traits. The psychiatrist who diagnosed me mentioned this in his report, that depression can ameliorate traits or bring out other hidden, buried or suppressed traits. When relaxed, I don't have such severe social anxiety, I find it easier to soicalise, I don't need to control my environment. When anxious (some background anxiety is always present), I tend to be much more rigid in thinking, and want to stick to routines. If I had not had the anxiety and depression, it's possible that I might not have been diagnosed with Asperger's, not needed the diagnosis.

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Dr-David-Banner
16 hours ago, RiRi said:

As adults, some people seem less autistic in some ways. They manage to find ways to cope with things or just somehow end up being a different person than they were as a child. I imagine the symptoms may also fluctuate depending on the state of the person. To fit the autistic criteria and formally get diagnosed, you don't need to have the symptoms as an adult as long as they were there when you were a child.

  • Are the any symptoms that you no longer fit or fulfill in the criteria for a formal diagnosis? If so, what are they and how do you think you over came these symptoms?
  • Do you feel like those symptoms are no longer there as in, they disappeared? Or do they come back from time to time? Or did you find a way to cope with them? If so, how? 

You are right that many countries tend to focus the research on just children. I think this is a good idea also because, for example, if the adults have alcohol or especially drug issues it makes a diagnosis very hit-and-miss. Despite that, I don't think autism goes away. I don't think I stand any chance of "being cured". The condition is still very problematic. I think you can successfully develop coping methods and hopefully make good use of the more positive aspects of the condition. Yes, in my case symptoms wax and wane.

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Dr-David-Banner

A basic defenition of the term autism" I think is essential. Some experts have differed but ... I refer to myself as "autistic" for the following reason: Autistic adults may be sociable and chatty (sometimes) but they think and process information very individually. They have an inward conception of the world around them. They are resistant to group and peer pressure and tend not to go along with the majority view. They may be poor listeners and more inward orientated. The degree of individualism and poor outward attention usually leads to problems at school and being dismissed as "thick". These issues of poor group adhesion will mostly go on to limit employment, limit popularity and require genuine therapy snd support. In my view, more pronounced autism would be the schizoid type where the individual is aloof, remote, unsociable and withdrawn. In conclusion, I only refer to myself as "High Autistic" because my dreamy inwardness led to learning issues at school. Especially maths. I then, as a consequence,. developed late and had to do lots of further education. However I was never mentally backward and not unsociable and will chat to.strangers (often a one-sided affair). So this autism does embody learning obstacles but ultimately we have normal IQ or above and strong abstract thought processing. Many people could be offended by the use of the term "autistic" if the signs are not obvious.

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Sanctuary

I think as we move through childhood and into adulthood almost all of us becomes more aware of social rules and how we are deemed to be acting "incorrectly" or "not fitting in". Most of us then do try to meet these expectations and "fit in" more but it's not an easy task. When I was a child, teenager and even young adult I seemed to have little awareness of these things and wasn't aware of how "different" I was. I'm now far more aware of social rules and try hard to observe them but it's difficult. To use an acting analogy when I was young I probably wasn't even aware there was a script, let alone how to interact with others; now I know the script and expected movements very well but my "performance" remains "unconvincing" to others. What's also changed is this increased self-awareness has also made me much more aware of my perceived deficiencies and has damaged my self-confidence which might then mean I come across worse in interaction and wipes out the benefits of greater social knowledge. Social awareness is a good thing but it doesn't necessarily lead to social integration or social success.

In other areas I've made a more significant improvement. For example when I was young I paid no attention to my personal appearance and didn't seem aware that I was scruffy and badly turned-out. I am now far more careful to look presentable and dress appropriately. However I can still slip up at times. One aspect I've become more aware is me overlooking that my shoes can become rather worn, particularly the heels, and this can create the wrong impression even if the rest of my appearance is fine. In general it's possible to make improvements but still miss something important. I think neurotypicals are better at spotting these "potential slip-ups" or riding them out if they occur. Some more successful individuals with ASD are also good at noting their differences and not just accepting them but making them into a virtue.

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Nesf
On 2/6/2019 at 11:35 AM, Nesf said:

can ameliorate traits

I actually meant to say 'make things worse' here, sorry, unable to edit.

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Dr-David-Banner
On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 10:02 AM, Sanctuary said:

I think as we move through childhood and into adulthood almost all of us becomes more aware of social rules and how we are deemed to be acting "incorrectly" or "not fitting in". Most of us then do try to meet these expectations and "fit in" more but it's not an easy task. When I was a child, teenager and even young adult I seemed to have little awareness of these things and wasn't aware of how "different" I was. I'm now far more aware of social rules and try hard to observe them but it's difficult. To use an acting analogy when I was young I probably wasn't even aware there was a script, let alone how to interact with others; now I know the script and expected movements very well but my "performance" remains "unconvincing" to others. What's also changed is this increased self-awareness has also made me much more aware of my perceived deficiencies and has damaged my self-confidence which might then mean I come across worse in interaction and wipes out the benefits of greater social knowledge. Social awareness is a good thing but it doesn't necessarily lead to social integration or social success.

In other areas I've made a more significant improvement. For example when I was young I paid no attention to my personal appearance and didn't seem aware that I was scruffy and badly turned-out. I am now far more careful to look presentable and dress appropriately. However I can still slip up at times. One aspect I've become more aware is me overlooking that my shoes can become rather worn, particularly the heels, and this can create the wrong impression even if the rest of my appearance is fine. In general it's possible to make improvements but still miss something important. I think neurotypicals are better at spotting these "potential slip-ups" or riding them out if they occur. Some more successful individuals with ASD are also good at noting their differences and not just accepting them but making them into a virtue.

"One aspect I've become more aware is me overlooking that my shoes can become rather worn, particularly the heels, and this can create the wrong impression even if the rest of my appearance is fine."

I think I can outscore you on "unkempt" points. Only Columbo seems to come close although he does have me beat on the smoking issue (I don't smoke). Add to that, you can credit him with a tie too! I have major issues with being scruffy. Not only odd socks in the past but once or twice odd shoes!. Someone told me today in near disbelief that even the homeless seem "well turned out" in comparison to me. I just seem to really struggle. My argument is if I were going out somewhere I would really make an effort but mostly I am working by myself and just forget about routine affairs. I did take comfort in Columbo though, even more so because he loves dogs and drives a knackered car (akin to my own knackered bike). Here is the famous clip where he tries to interview a murder witness at a Mission For The Homeless.

 

 

 

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Sanctuary

There's certainly nothing wrong with wearing anything you like when alone in your own home and it's certainly fine to wear more functional clothes when working. When away from home and / or in company expectations are different and there is a social skill in working out the most appropriate clothing. It's worth noting that it's also possible to be socially out of place by dressing too formally or smartly for a situation although usually the "sanctions" are more severe for the person who is deemed to have dressed too casually or carelessly and therefore "not shown respect" for the occasion or the people they are with. We do get a better sense of what is required with age and experience but mistakes can still occur and even small errors can be almost as striking as larger ones.

Of course there are also occasions when someone deliberately flouts expectations about attire, e.g. refusing to wear a tie. This may be done as a protest or simply to attract attention and maybe get regarded as a "character". Over-dressing can be part of this, as can be dressing in the style of an older era. Even wearing odd socks or mismatching clothes can occasionally be done as a "trademark" of a person's desire to be different. However sometimes it is clearly unintended. Individuals with ASD may be more likely to make these unintended clothing mismatches but in a spirit of individualism may also be more likely to deliberately flout dress expectations. Whatever their reasoning though they may not have fully considered how others will view their appearance.

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