Most of the common beliefs society has about autism, come from experiences with autistic children.
Generally, children are diagnosed when they are falling behind in their communications skills or displaying other symptoms which signify that they are developing differently from the expected norm.
Autism in adults can be a very uncomfortable subject, but it exists, both as the autistic children grow up or as an adult is diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
Typically, adult diagnosis occurs when a person goes to a physician or counselor displaying other health or psychological issues.
Occasionally, an adult will self-diagnose or specifically seek an autism diagnosis from a physician, if they suspect they might have it.
Given the reputation of autism in the media, a diagnosis, however it occurs, can be very upsetting.
So, what should an adult who has just been diagnosed, do next?
If a person has survived to reach adulthood, they have, obviously, already made adaptations and modifications that enable them to survive in a non-autistic world.
They should focus on their strengths and areas of interest. They might think about unusual quirks or abilities they have. Which might be used to work around difficult situations.
If verbal skills are difficult, but writing skills are excellent, they should put important correspondence in writing.
A portfolio of work can be assembled to bring to a job interview, to demonstrate proficiency and give the person something to focus on when talking.
Most autistic people have areas of special interests. Often these areas can lead to career possibilities.
A person who collected airplane models as a child, could learn to pilot a plane, design aircraft, write about their hobby or open a model shop.
Probably the most important thing a newly diagnosed autistic person can do is gather a support system of trusted friends and family members.
They should look at their support system, not as a vehicle to carry them, but rather as a “mission control” system.
They are not there to do everything for the person, but to give advice and warnings if they stray too far off course.
For those recently diagnosed with autism, emotions will run high, issues from the past will resurface and healing and forgiveness of self and others will typically take place.
In the end, knowledge is as powerful as the autistic mind, once it is accepted and headed in the right direction.