Autism Care for Adults: A Beginner's Guide

February 28, 2023
Those who are unfamiliar with autism may find it quite confusing. Understanding autism and what it means to be on the autism spectrum can help families and caregivers better understand their loved ones with autism.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that impacts communication and behavior significantly. As a result of this condition, children often have difficulties interacting socially, communicating verbally and non-verbally, and exhibiting repetitive behaviors in their early years. 

Autism affects how people behave, communicate, interact, and learn. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect people differently on all levels. Some individuals with autism may be able to communicate effectively, while others may be unable to communicate at all. There are several reasons why this may happen. Some people with ASD require a great deal of assistance in their daily lives, while others can work and live independently.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of ASD?

Social communication and interaction are often difficult for people with autism spectrum disorders, as well as restricted interests and behaviors. Furthermore, people with autism spectrum disorders may learn, move, or pay attention differently. It is important to keep in mind, however, that some people without ASD may also exhibit some of these symptoms. Individuals with autism may experience several difficulties due to the characteristics associated with autism.

Autism in adults is characterized by the following symptoms:
  • Being unable to understand the feelings and thoughts of others
  • Social anxiety
  • Not being able to make friends or preferring to be alone
  • Bluntness, rudeness, or uninterest in others without meaning to
  • Feelings you can't express
  • Sarcasm and phrases like "break a leg" are taken literally
  • Never changing routines and becoming anxious if they do

Tips for Caring for Adults with ASD

Allow Enough Time For Communication

People with autism spectrum disorders and those without have a wide range of language and social skills. Despite taking things too literally or not understanding certain social cues, some adults with autism have relatively good communication skills. Others may be difficult to understand, may have difficulty following directions or conversations, or may even be nonverbal. Patience and time are key to improving communication.

Maintain Consistency by Reinforcing It

People with autism may find it difficult to adjust to changes in routines, schedules, and environments. As a result of the change, they may feel anxious, frustrated, or even have emotional outbursts. Consistency may bring comfort and help a person with autism feel more in control when they are anxious. To help them feel more independent and secure, to relieve some of the stress they may be experiencing, to help them accomplish their goals, and to improve your relationship with them, it is important to establish consistency in their environment and routines as much as possible.
Individuals receiving care can have different daily routines based on their level of care and their caregiver's ability to meet their individual goals, challenges, and needs. Among the daily activities of an individual are getting ready for work, preparing meals, eating, doing chores, participating in social activities and hobbies, and attending therapy sessions.
A simple list of the tasks someone needs to accomplish each day can be helpful for someone who needs assistance. Each activity should be described, including the time it will take, and the steps you need to complete it. Keeping track of important events and appointments is made easier with calendars, alarms, and timers.

Assist in Emotional Preparation

It can be difficult for someone with autism to adjust to any kind of change. Unexpected changes can be extremely traumatic because they cannot be predicted or prepared for. Kindness, support, and patience are essential in those moments. A person with autism who cannot plan for changes can benefit greatly from clear communication.
It is important to inform people with ASD about changes, when to expect them, and why they will benefit them as early as possible. By using strategies such as countdown calendars, practice runs or drives to a new location, videos or photographs showing what to expect during the activity, and rewards, new (and often anxiety-provoking) activities can be mastered. You can help the person transition smoothly by giving them extra time, allowing them to bring comfort items, and staying calm and patient throughout the process.

Provide Them with Personal Space

As a result of social and sensory challenges, some people with autism overstep social norms of personal space. They may hug strangers too closely or speak too close to those who do not know them well. There are people, however, who struggle with both. The inability to understand and respond to social cues causes individuals with ASD to avoid eye contact and engage with others. It may be overwhelming for some people to listen to loud conversations or to be touched. When you hug them, handshake them, or brush their arms, they may feel anxious and uncomfortable.
As a result, adults with autism need their own space. A person with this level of discomfort may have difficulty communicating with others if forced to speak too close to them, take their hand (especially a stranger's hand), or hug them. Make sure you consider their comfort level when adapting your approach. Give someone a wave and a smile or say something supportive or complimentary to calm a stressful situation. Handshakes and hugs can also be used to greet someone or calm a stressful situation.

How can people with ASD be supported?

In the case of autism spectrum disorder, there is no "cure". There are some supportive therapies and other factors that can help people with autism cope with their challenges and relieve some of their symptoms.
These therapies are often used in many approaches:
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
Meditation techniques, weighted clothing, and massage may also be beneficial to individuals with autism. Despite this, there is a wide range of results available. People respond differently to different approaches, and some find them effective, while others do not.

Contact BrightStar Care of Fairfax Today

BrightStar Care of Fairfax provides a team of professionals ready to care for you and your loved ones. We understand the challenges faced by caregivers and are committed to providing compassionate care that meets the needs of those we serve. If you would like more information about our services, please visit our website or call us today at  703-995-7333. 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.

 Come visit us at 10515 Braddock Rd Suite C Fairfax, VA 22032. Hopefully, we’ll hear from you soon!