Parenting is full of challenges. From the early days, when you are sleep deprived and responsible for a tiny, dependent baby, to the challenging preteen and teenage years, parenting is hard. When you are a parent who is also on the autism spectrum, that job becomes even more challenging. Consider for a moment what it's like if you don't even know that you have a disorder on the autism spectrum.
There are a growing number of people who are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in their mid to late 30's and above. The advances in medical research and understanding of ASDs has led to a wider set of diagnostic criteria which offers many adults answers for their behaviors and gives them new ways to cope. Improved diagnostics have increased the accuracy in which doctors can evaluate adult patients for the presence of ASDs. In recent years, the prevalence of autism has increased 10 to 17 percent annually according to Autism Speaks. Now that we know more adults are being diagnosed with ASD, let's discuss how you can you tell whether you have a pattern of behavior that may mean you fall on the spectrum. If you're searching for Raleigh mental health services, call Legacy!
ASD Patterns and Symptoms
Difficulty communicating is one of the most common traits in people with autism. In children, language and speech delays are common. As children mature and transition to adulthood, often these communication difficulties become more evident in social situations.
Adults with ASD may be unable to have a two-sided conversations. Instead, they may prefer to focus on one or two preferred subjects, offering little chance for anyone else to engage in the conversation. Conversations with those who have ASD can tend to feel like a monologue that you were invited to listen to.
Social awkwardness is another hallmark of ASD behavior. Regulating emotions and picking up on body language or social cues like shrugging, facial expressions or gestures is difficult for those who are on the spectrum. These actions carry little influence for them and therefore can make social situations uncomfortable. Without this ability to understand these cues, people on the spectrum cannot understand or predict the actions of others, causing them to feel anxious and confused. Relating to others is difficult, and most who have ASD believe that others are unable or unwilling to try to understand them. This is often not the case at all.
Self-regulation is difficult for those who have ASD. Controlling inappropriate responses, planning, and organizing tasks prove challenging for many on the spectrum. These difficulties play into the much larger picture by manifesting as attention problems, fixation on minor details and problem-solving deficits.
Intense preoccupations or obsessions are signifiers that someone is experiencing the strong cycle of repetitive behaviors that are common in ASD patients. Disruption to routine, having objects out of place, or the interference in rituals leads to explosive, sometimes violent outburts and causes extreme stress and anxiety.
For more information on parenting children with autism, click here to read part two.
Affordable Raleigh Mental Health Services
If these symptoms sound familiar and are making your duties as a parent, co-worker, spouse or partner difficult, Legacy Freedom of Raleigh can help. Our care team is experienced in dealing with autism spectrum disorders and the mental health conditions that can accompany them. Our holistic approach to mental health care is centered around you and your needs. Together we can help you identify where you struggle, underlying or additional mental health concerns and work to get you back on track. Your time with your children is precious, they need you to be a parent they can rely on and trust. Begin a journey towards healing today with Raleigh mental health services that your family can trust.