Did you watch the short video I presented? Can you tell me what important factor is missing in this clip?
The video clip was done well, but it really should have included aspects of adults on the spectrum. As this is a problem with much of the information available to the public, children with autism are mentioned much more highly in treatments etc. than any articles, programs and research for adults. One needs to ask; well these children do grow up like everyone else don’t they? Yes, we do! So why don't we see more information out there for adults in Saint Cloud? Your guess is as good as mine!
So, what happens when an adult finally finds out they were autistic after all this time? In reality, the responses are varied, just as how varied the disorder is reflected throughout the spectrum. But I can tell you personally from my experiences, and others I know well, is that there seems to be certain stages we go through. I am going to mention three common emotional stages of adults that were diagnosed late on the spectrum.
#1—Relief. Finally being able to know why you are the way you are.
#2—Anxiety. (very common, fluctuating with severity) Not knowing what steps need to be taken. What can be worked on and what needs to be accepted as something that may need understanding and accommodations from others around you. When to pretend to be like others, or when you can just be yourself. This list goes on forever it seems like.
#3—Major Depression. Various research projects over the past few years have found severe depression and high suicidal tendencies to be extremely common with those with autism spectrum disorders. This disorder is even more common among adults who were diagnosed later in life. Many have explained that this is more than likely due to being treated badly when younger and as a young adult, a lack of proper therapeutics because of the lack of/or misdiagnosis of the challenges, and a lack of acceptance from peers etc. due to the symptoms of the disorder. Depression is also even more complicated when living with severe anxiety disorders. So people on the spectrum that are diagnosed with major depression, a variety of severe anxiety disorders and other severe disorders, deal with a much more complicated issue much more than someone who is not. Most people on the spectrum diagnosed with major depression fluctuate with severity, but many are described as commonly having severe chronic recurrent depression that includes a high rate of suicidal ideation and acting on it with a plan. (I have also found that many on the spectrum do not usually like to talk about being suicidal, and the signs may be much much more different than typical suicidal or depressive people).
#4—Acceptance of self. If you’re an older adult on the spectrum, you could be one of the lucky ones that totally accepts who you are and what your challenges are. But many of us still deal with a lot of ignorance from people, and/or total refusal to understand how and what autism is about and how much each case fluctuates in differences, thus affecting how the person on the spectrum may see themselves. So if the individual has great support and understanding, they more than likely will have higher self acceptance, and a greater chance at having lesser anxiety to little to no depression issues. Although with the later, you can see how negative the outcome can turn out.
My main point here is on how spectrum disorders are represented to the public. We need to see less segregated work, and more of an inclusion to the fact that that people on the spectrum grow up and grow old. We don’t disappear, as many of our challenges do not either. Sure, some of us may have found a way to deal with certain things, but again it may not be the more proper way to socially act either.