Causes of High Functioning Autism in Adults
Autism is a brain development disorder that is generally apparent from infancy or childhood. The causes are still not clearly understood but the following seem to have some part in changing the various systems of the brain which result in autism:
- Inherited genetic conditions - autism definitely can be passed down through generations
- Environmental factors
- Childhood immunizations
Due to a lack of knowledge in past generations, adults with high functioning autism may not have been given a diagnosis as a child. They were probably just regarded as odd or different by those in their social circle. Many have since been diagnosed in adulthood but doctors are generally unable to pinpoint a cause.
Behavior Patterns of High Functioning Autistic Adults
Adults with high functioning autism have a number of limitations that become apparent in everyday life. They may overcome some of these by the way they structure their lives. Typical behavior patterns include the following:
- An ordered life with strict routines is common. The person may become agitated if these are interfered with.
- Autistic adults often become loners and spend a lot of time researching a favourite hobby or studying an interest.
- Special interests may become an obsession and the adult with high functioning autism will talk about them to anyone who will listen.
- Problems with depression and mood disorders may be apparent. These are often caused by the lack of social interaction due to the autism.
- The adult may seem self-centered or unemotional by the way they talk to others.
- A lack of eye contact and facial expressions can make them seem disinterested in others.
Challenges Faced by Adults with High Functioning Autism
High functioning autistic adults face a number of challenges on a daily basis. These are often more apparent if they are employed and have to interact with work colleagues during the day. Other challenges may occur while at social events. Difficulties can include the following:
- Adults with high functioning autism have difficulty in reading the body language of other people and their facial expressions. This means they may get lost in a conversation.
- Communication and speech problems are another challenge and these can cause an adult to be ostracised. Stilted speech and the use of formal language can set them apart and lead to rejection and mockery.
- Bullying is not restricted to children and an adult with high functioning autism may find him or herself being victimized in the workplace.
- Adults are often misunderstood by those who don’t realize that they have high functioning autism.
The strict schedules and unusual interests of adults with high functioning autism may set them aside as being different - but in some cases they can help them to cope better. Their liking for schedules and routine will mean they are generally reliable employees who don’t arrive late or leave early. This is a big plus in any employer’s mind. A special interest often opens the way for membership to a club, providing opportunities to meet like-minded people and form friendships.