Home care in Columbia, MD

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  • Columbia, MD 21046

Autism Care 101: Caring For Adults with Autism

Understanding the spectrum of autism can be quite confusing for those that are not familiar with what it is. However, understanding what autism is and what it means to be part of the spectrum, can encourage caregivers and family members to understand what their autistic loved one is experiencing.
 

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. It typically manifests in early childhood and can cause problems with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. ASD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning that it affects the way the brain develops.

There may be differences in the way people with ASD behave, communicate, interact, and learn. There is a wide range of abilities among people with ASD. As an example, some individuals with ASD may be able to converse effectively, while others may be non-verbal. While some people with ASD need a lot of assistance in their daily lives, others can work and live independently.
 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ASD?

Social communication and interaction are often difficult for people with ASD, as well as restricted or repetitive interests or behaviors. Additionally, people with ASD may have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. However, it is important to keep in mind that some people without ASD might also exhibit some of these symptoms. People with autism spectrum disorders may experience a number of difficulties as a result of these characteristics.

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

There is a wide variation between people with ASD in terms of their language skills and their social skills. In some instances, adults who have autism have minimal communication challenges, perhaps taking things too literally or having difficulty understanding certain social cues. Others may be difficult to understand, may have difficulty following conversations or directions, or may even be completely nonverbal. It is essential to have patience and time when it comes to improving communication.
 

Maintain consistency by reinforcing it

Changes in routines, schedules, and environments can be difficult for people with autism. As a result of the change, they may feel anxious, frustrated, and even have emotional outbursts. It has been found that consistency can make a person with autism feel more in control and may bring them some comfort if they are feeling anxious. It is important that you try to establish consistency in their environment and their routines in order to help them feel more independent and secure, relieve some of the stress they may be experiencing, help them achieve their goals, and improve your relationship with them.
 
Daily routines can vary depending on the level of care you're providing and the person's individual goals, challenges, and needs. Activities may include getting ready for work, preparing meals, eating, performing daily chores, participating in social activities and hobbies, and attending therapy sessions.
 
You can assist someone by creating a simple list of each task they should complete each day. As part of the daily schedule, you should indicate how long each activity is expected to take and what steps are included within each activity. Keeping a calendar with important events and appointments on it is helpful for many people, as is setting alarms or timers.
 

Assist in Emotional Preparation

It can be difficult for someone with autism to adjust to any kind of change. There are some unexpected changes you can't predict or prepare for, which can be extremely traumatic. During those moments, it's important to be kind, supportive, and patient. When a person with autism cannot plan for changes, clear communication can make a huge difference.
 
It is important to let the person with ASD know as early as possible what changes are coming when to expect them, and why those changes will be beneficial to them. The use of countdown calendars, practice runs or drives to a new location, videos or photographs demonstrating what the person can expect during or at a new activity, and promises of rewards can be helpful strategies for successfully completing new (and often anxiety-provoking) activities. You will both be able to navigate change more smoothly if you allow extra time, let the person bring comfort items along, and try to remain calm and patient during the transition.
 

Provide Them with Personal Space

Many individuals with autism have difficulty with both the social and sensory aspects of interaction, and some overstep the social conventions of personal space. They might speak too close to others or hug strangers who do not know them. However, a significant number of people have difficulty with both things. In some cases, individuals with ASD prefer to avoid making eye contact and engaging with others based on their inability to understand and respond to social cues within conversations. 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.
 
For this reason, adults with autism need their own space. A person who feels this level of discomfort may have difficulty trusting or communicating with another person if they force them to talk too closely with them, take their hand (especially a stranger's hand), or hug them. Assess their level of comfort and try to adjust your approach accordingly. If you choose to greet them or calm stressful situations by giving them a wave and a smile or saying something supportive or complimentary to them, you can use other tactics to greet them or calm stressful situations, such as giving them a hug or handshake.
 

How can people with ASD be supported?

As far as autism spectrum disorder is concerned, there is no "cure". Supportive therapies and other considerations are more likely to be helpful to many people with autism, as they can help them relieve certain symptoms that they are experiencing and help them feel better.
In many approaches, these therapies are often used:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Meditation techniques, weighted clothing, and massages may also benefit people with ASD. There is, however, a wide range of results. While certain approaches may work for some people, they may not work for others.

 

Contact BrightStar Care of Howard County Today

If you have questions regarding our services in Howard County, MD, or want to book a free home visit, please contact us at 410-910-9425. Our website also includes a contact form that you can use to get in touch with us. It will be a pleasure to meet you and your family, and we look forward to providing you with the care and support you need.