Diagnosis for Adults - Tools and Strategies for Adults
Our understanding of the complexity of autism has greatly improved over the last two decades and it has been re-conceptualized as a spectrum of abilities and functioning levels. As a result, individuals may have been misdiagnosed as children and do not receive the diagnosis till late adolescence or adulthood. Many adults feel a sense of relief and greater self-understanding when they learn they are on the autism spectrum. This knowledge empowers them (and their family members) to advocate for themselves as students, employees and members of their community.
Successful transition to adulthood requires the social communication skills necessary to obtain employment and work collaboratively with others. ASD individuals also need social supports that increase their independent living skills and prepare them for postsecondary education. ASD adults want to improve social relationships, develop friendships and find romantic partners, but have not had the same social experiences as their peers. They need direct instruction on understanding nonverbal communication, explicit social rules and the ability to practice social skills in real life settings. They may need help creating self-advocacy scripts to use in a variety of situations. Some may need to explain their sensory sensitivities to others and learn how to ask for environmental accommodations. ASD adults also need to know the basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it applies in postsecondary education and the workplace.