It seems awareness of ASD in children has become more prevalent in recent years, which is a blessing for families searching for answers and strategies for their children. Also diagnosis of the disorder in adults has increased noticeably in recent years, perhaps because of the awareness of ASD.
For adults, even a diagnosis late in life can increase quality of life dramatically, but sometimes obtaining that diagnosis is challenging for adults.
Most severe cases of ASD are diagnosed early, within the first two years of life. But for highly functioning autistic adults, ASD may be missed, or mistaken for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Further, many adults with autism have learned to hide their symptoms or found strategies to compensate for their disabilities.
Evaluating autism in a previously undiagnosed adult can sometimes be a struggle, as many tests are designed for children, and few clinicians specialize in adults. Today, no standardized diagnostic tests exist for adults.
The advocacy group Autism Speaks, even goes so far as to recommend to adults seeking evaluation and finding no other options, to visit a developmental pediatrician, child psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist experienced in evaluating autism and children and willing to see older patients.
Hope is on the way however. Neurologist David Beversdorf, reports in the group Autism Speaks website that diagnostic tests for adults are being developed presently.
If you think you, or one of your loved ones, may be on the autism spectrum, seek guidance from an autism advocacy group near you, or speak to your family physician for guidance.
Dealing proactively with the symptoms and challenges of ASD can improve quality of life dramatically for those with the disorder