Taking Care of Adults with Autism: A Guide for Caregivers

October 11, 2022
Those that aren't familiar with the spectrum of autism may find it quite difficult to comprehend. Caretakers and family members can better understand what their autistic loved one is experiencing by understanding what autism is and what it means to be part of the autism spectrum.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects communication as well as behavior. The symptoms typically manifest in early childhood and can cause difficulties with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as repetitive behaviors. ASD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the development of the brain.

Different behaviors, communication styles, and interactions may exist among people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is characterized by a wide variety of abilities. Some individuals with ASD are able to converse effectively, while others may not be able to communicate effectively due to their non-verbal nature. While there are some people with autism who require a great deal of assistance in their daily lives, there are also some who can work and live on their own.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ASD?

It is often difficult for people with ASD to communicate and interact with others, as well as to follow restricted or repetitive interests or behaviors. In addition, people with ASD may learn differently, move differently, or pay attention differently. It is important to keep in mind, however, that some people without ASD might also exhibit these symptoms. As a result of these characteristics, people with autism spectrum disorders may experience a number of difficulties.

Common signs of autism in adults include:
  • Being unable to understand the thoughts and feelings of others
  • Social anxiety
  • Not being able to make friends or preferring to be alone
  • Intentionally being blunt, rude, or uninterested in others
  • Not being able to express your feelings
  • Sarcasm and phrases such as "break a leg" are taken literally
  • Having routines that never change and becoming anxious if they do

Tips for Caring for Adults with ADS

Communicate Clearly and Allow Enough Time

The language skills of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their social skills can vary greatly between individuals with ASD. Some adults who are autistic may have minimal communication difficulties, for example, taking things too literally or having a problem understanding certain social cues, while others may have more severe communication difficulties. In some cases, others may be difficult to understand; they may have trouble following conversations or directions, or they may even not be able to communicate at all. It is essential to have patience and time when it comes to improving communication.

Make Sure Consistency is Maintained by Reinforcing It

It can be difficult for people with autism to adjust to changes in routines, schedules, and environments. Their feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even emotional outbursts may be affected by the change. A person with autism may feel more in control if they are consistent and may feel some comfort if they are anxious. By establishing consistency in their environment and routines, you can help them feel more independent and secure, relieve some of the stress they may be experiencing, and help them achieve their goals.
A person's daily routine can vary depending on the level of care they receive and their specific goals, challenges, and needs. Preparing meals, eating, performing daily chores, engaging in social activities, and attending therapy sessions are all possible activities.
The best way to help someone is to make a simple list of all the tasks they need to complete each day. It is important to indicate in the daily schedule how long each activity is expected to take and what steps are included within each activity as part of the time that is allocated for each activity. People often find it helpful to keep a calendar with all of their important events and appointments on it, as well as to set alarms and timers for them to keep track of.

Provide Emotional Support

Any kind of change can be difficult for someone with autism. You can't predict or prepare for some unexpected changes, which can be extremely traumatic. It's important to be kind, supportive, and patient during these moments. Communication can make a huge difference for a person with autism who cannot plan for changes.
People with ASD need to be informed early on what changes will be coming when to expect them, and why those changes will be beneficial to them. There are many strategies for successfully completing new (and often anxiety-provoking) activities. They include counting down the days, practicing runs or driving to a new location, showing videos or photographs of what a person can expect during the activity, and promising rewards. By allowing extra time, letting the person bring comfort items along, and remaining calm and patient during the transition, you will be able to navigate change more smoothly.
Allow Them to Have Their Own Space
Individuals with autism have difficulty with social and sensory aspects of interaction, and some overstep social conventions of personal space. They may speak too close to others or hug strangers who don't know them. Some people, however, struggle with both. Due to their inability to understand and respond to social cues within conversations, some individuals with ASD avoid eye contact and engaging with others. Others are overwhelmed by loud conversations or dislike being touched. It may make them feel anxious and uncomfortable when they are hugged, they are offered a handshake, or brushed on the arm.
As a result, adults with autism require their own space. Someone who feels this level of discomfort may have difficulty trusting or communicating with another person if they force them to speak too closely with them, take their hand (especially a stranger's hand), or hug them. Consider their level of comfort and adjust your approach accordingly. You can use other tactics to greet them or calm stressful situations, such as giving them a hug or handshake. 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.

What can be done to support people with ASD?

Autism spectrum disorder does not have a "cure". Many people with autism can benefit from supportive therapies and other considerations, as these can relieve certain symptoms and help them feel better.
These therapies are often used in many approaches:
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • ASD patients may also benefit from meditation techniques, weighted clothing, and massages. The results, however, vary widely. Despite the fact that some approaches may be effective for some people, they may not work for others.

Contact BrightStar Care of Bedford Today

ASD can present many challenges for caregivers. However, with the right support and therapies, adults with autism can lead happy and productive lives. BrightStar Care Bedford is here to provide you with the resources and support you need to take care of your loved one. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help. Contact us online or by phone at 603-606-9058 and by visiting us at our location Bedford, NH601 Riverway Place Bedford, NH 03110.