Common symptoms of autism in adults include: Difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling. Trouble interpreting facial expressions, body language, or social cues. Difficulty regulating emotion.
Autistic adults are valuable members of their communities who face many challenges daily. Topics of great concern include education, living arrangements, careers and community involvement.
Many adults with autism thrive in their fields of interest. Vocational training and college courses can help the individual develop new skills while working with his strengths. While the subject may be highly motivational, many higher education programs fall short of meeting the needs of people on the autism spectrum.
Getting a GED
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), accommodations must be available for GED testing for all people with disabilities. People take the test on the computer, and accommodations may include a separate testing space, extra time to test, extra or longer breaks, or others. To request accommodations for a GED, you need to fill out the GED accommodations request form through the test administrator before taking the test. America’s Literacy Directory offers a searchable database for individuals who need to earn a General Education Diploma (GED) as well as programs for employment including skill assessment and work-based skills certification.
Asking for Accommodations in College
Contacting the learning institution about the student’s condition is ideal. An accommodation letter to the university or college is a great approach. Include details about the classroom setting, the individual’s possible behaviors, and accommodations that yield the best results.
Everyday tasks many people take for granted can be extremely challenging for individuals with autism. Occupational therapy and physical therapy may progress well into adulthood. The ability to develop life skills is an important aspect of determining the best living arrangements.
Living accommodations vary according to the individual’s specific needs.
- Some are quite capable of living alone while others may require constant supervision.
- Group homes, family dwellings and institutions are typical options for adults with autism. The spectrum is wide and living arrangements are made on an individual basis.
- Determining which options are best requires careful evaluation of the individual.
- The National Autism Network offers a detailed list of options individuals with autism and their families may consider.
Employment and Career Resources
Adults with autism are terrific candidates for countless careers. The first step is to determine which careers pique the individual’s interests. Some employers are more than willing to hire people on the spectrum. It is important employers make the proper accommodations for employees who have pervasive developmental disorders.
Job Accommodation Network
Job Accommodation Network is a project developed by the Office of Disabilities Employment Policy from the United States Department of Labor. This organization includes resources for adults with autism as well as their employers.
JAN includes SOAR, the Searchable Online Accommodation Resource. This feature provides a list of frequently requested products for individuals with cognitive and neurological impairments.
As adults with autism navigate their lives, there are many services available to offer assistance.
Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CAASC) provides excellent support and guidance for adults on the spectrum including:
- Skill assessment
- Job coaches
- Education for neurotypical co-workers
- Workplace safety
- Public transportation skill development
The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) is a prime example of an organization dedicated to improving lives of people affected by autism spectrum disorders. Among the many services provided by the SARRC are programs for autistic adults. Services include:
Vocational and life skills training
SARRC is a wonderful model of the ideal organization dedicated to helping families affected by autism spectrum disorders, including autistic adults.
Autism Source is an online directory provided by the Autism Society of America. Via this resource, you can find some regional, local and nationwide organizations offering services for people of all ages with autism.
Productive Members of Society
Adults diagnosed on the autism spectrum offer the most valuable information about pervasive developmental disorders. Those who are able to communicate their experiences provide a glimpse into the conditions, often negating many stereotypes associated with autism. Among the most important is empathy. While some assert individuals on the spectrum lack empathy, this is merely an illusion. Their outward responses do not always represent their thoughts, beliefs and emotions.