Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disability that vary widely in abilities, interests, and strengths, and so characteristics of the disorder are expressed differently in every individual. Some individuals with ASD may exhibit only mild characteristics of autism, while others display the characteristics in an extreme manner. The core symptoms of autism that are folded into two categories: persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Impairments in social communication and interaction, for example, can include abnormal eye contact, deficits in nonverbal and verbal communication, difficulty in play and making friends, and differences in social-emotional reciprocity. The second category, restricted and repetitive behaviors, also varies across the spectrum but may include stereotyped or repetitive hand movements (e.g., clapping, finger flicking, flapping, twisting), insistence on sameness, adherence to routines, preoccupations with obscure topics and items, and atypical reactivity to sensory input (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Research has shown the increase in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), making it one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in children (Hartley-McAndrew, 2014). The Center of Disease Control estimates that in the United States, the prevalence of ASD is roughly 1 in 68 children, with 1 in 42 among boys. With this increased recognition of autism, studies are starting to look at adult outcomes. There are currently many adults with autism living and working in our community now. The priority for many years has been the focused on early intervention (a great cause and effort) and educational services (necessary and an entitlement), while the adult population have received relatively little or no attention.
Adults, as with children, on the autism spectrum show a wide range of strengths and challenges. For adults the intensity of the symptoms and characteristics will vary, while the form and presentation of symptoms may change over time. What we know for sure is that people with autism, age, grow and mature and our service system continues to struggle with quality community supports that address the uniqueness of adults with autism. Our hope is that these circumstance will change soon; Monica Meyer Consulting is committed to the change!