Home care in Westlake Village, CA

  • 370 N. Westlake Blvd.
  • Suite 120
  • Westlake Village, CA 91362

Caring For Adults with Autism: A Beginner's Guide

For those who are unfamiliar with autism, understanding the spectrum can be quite confusing. Understanding autism and what it means to be on the spectrum can help caregivers and family members understand what their autistic loved one is going through.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

In terms of development, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that has a significant impact on communication and behavior. Typically, it is a condition that manifests itself during the early years of childhood, and it can cause problems with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behavior. 

Individuals with autism may behave, communicate, interact, and learn differently as a result of their disorder. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have a wide range of abilities ranging from one extreme to the other. For example, in some cases, individuals with autism may be able to communicate effectively, whereas in other cases, they may be unable to communicate at all. This can occur for a variety of reasons. There are some people with ASD who require a lot of assistance as part of their daily lives, while there are others who can work and live independently.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ASD?

For people with autism spectrum disorders, social communication and interaction are often difficult, as well as restricted or repetitive interests and behaviors. In addition, people with autism spectrum disorders may have a different way of learning, moving, or paying attention than other people. There are, however, some people without ASD who can exhibit some of these symptoms as well, so it is important to keep this in mind. As a result of the characteristics associated with autism, people with autism may experience several difficulties due to these problems.

Common signs of autism in adults include:

  • Having difficulty understanding others’ thoughts and feelings
  • Anxiety about social situations
  • Finding it difficult to make friends or preferring to be alone
  • Being blunt, rude, or uninterested in others without meaning to
  • Having trouble expressing your feelings
  • Taking things literally, such as sarcasm and phrases like “break a leg”
  • Routines that never change and becoming anxious if they do

 

Tips for Caring for Adults with ADS

Allow Enough Time For Communication

The language skills and social skills of people with ASD can vary widely between those with the condition and those who do not. Some adults with autism can communicate relatively well, even though they may take things too literally or have difficulty understanding certain social cues. Others may be difficult to understand, may have difficulty following directions or conversations, or may even be nonverbal. When it comes to improving communication, patience and time are essential.

Maintain consistency by reinforcing it

It can be difficult for people with autism to adjust to changes in routines, schedules, and environments. The change may cause them to feel anxious, frustrated, or even have emotional outbursts. When a person with autism feels anxious, consistency may make them feel more in control and bring them some comfort. Your goal should be to establish consistency in their environment and their routines as much as possible to help them feel more independent and secure, alleviate some of the stress they may be experiencing, help them achieve their goals, and to improve your relationship with them.
 
A person's daily routine can vary depending on the level of care they receive and their individual goals, challenges, and needs that are being met by the caregiver. Depending on the individual, activities may include getting ready for work, preparing meals, eating, performing daily chores, participating in social activities and hobbies, as well as attending therapy sessions.
 
Creating a simple list of the tasks each needs to complete each day can be a great help for someone who needs assistance. A daily schedule should include a description of each activity as well as an indication of how long each activity should take and what steps you will need to complete each activity. For many people, keeping a calendar with important events and appointments is helpful, as is setting an alarm or timer.

Assist in Emotional Preparation 

Autism can make it difficult for someone to adjust to any kind of change. A lot of unexpected changes can be extremely traumatic since they cannot be predicted or prepared for. It's important to be kind, supportive, and patient during those moments. Clear communication can make a huge difference for a person with autism who cannot plan for changes.
 
As early as possible, it is important to let the person with ASD know what changes are coming when to expect them, and why those changes will be beneficial to them. New (and often anxiety-provoking) activities can be completed with the help of strategies such as countdown calendars, practice runs or drives to a new location, videos or photographs that show what to expect during or at the activity, and rewards. Allowing extra time, letting the person bring comfort items along, and remaining calm and patient will all help you navigate change more smoothly.
 

Provide Them with Personal Space
 
The social and sensory aspects of interaction are challenging for many people with autism, and some overstep social conventions of personal space. They might hug strangers who don't know them too closely or speak too close to them. There are, however, a significant number of people who have trouble with both. Due to their inability to understand and respond to social cues within conversations, some individuals with ASD prefer to avoid eye contact and engaging with others. Others are overwhelmed by noisy conversations or don’t like to be touched. A hug, handshake, or brush on the arm may make them feel anxious and very uncomfortable.
 
As a result, adults with autism need their own space. It may be difficult for someone who feels this level of discomfort to trust or communicate with another person if they force them to talk too closely with them, take their hand (especially a stranger's hand), or hug them. Adapt your approach according to their comfort level. Giving them a wave and a smile or saying something supportive or complimentary to them is one way to greet them or calm stressful situations, but you can also give them a hug or handshake as another way to greet them or calm stressful situations.
 

How can people with ASD be supported?

In terms of autism spectrum disorder, there is no "cure". A variety of supportive therapies and other factors are more likely to be helpful to many people with autism, as they can help them relieve some of the symptoms that they are experiencing and make them feel better by helping them cope with the challenges that they are facing.
In many approaches, these therapies are often used:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Behavioral therapy

The use of meditation techniques, weighted clothing, and massages may also be beneficial for people with autism. However, there is a wide range of results that can be found. A certain approach may work for some people, but it may not work for others and vice versa.
 

Call BrightStar Care of Conejo today!

 
You can always contact BrightStar Care of Conejo Valley at 805-233-3800 or visit us at 370 N. Westlake Blvd. Suite 120 Westlake Village, CA 91362, and speak with one of our experts who will help you get started. Thank you for taking the time to read this!