Common Issues and Challenges facing Autistic Adults

Woman in an office Autistic adults face many issues and challenges on a day to day basis.

However it is important to remember that each autistic adult is a unique individual, with unique needs and abilities.

Because of this, he or she will experience those issues in a unique way or may not experience them at all.

It is just as important to remember that some autistic people don't think of autism as a challenge at all, it's just the way they are.

Core Features

Autistic adults are reported to have difficulties with two main areas.

  • persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction. For example, they may find it hard to begin or carry on a conversation, they may not understand social rules such as how far to stand from somebody else, or they may find it difficult to make friends.
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities. For example, they may develop an overwhelming interest in something, they may follow inflexible routines or rituals, they may make repetitive body movements, or they may be hypersensitive to certain sounds.

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Many autistic adults have co-morbidities (co-occurring conditions and syndromes) which bring their own problems and which may complicate the problems caused by autism. For example some have co-occurring

In addition some autistic adults also demonstrate challenging and disruptive behaviour (such as anger/aggression, irritability, self-injurious behaviour and tantrums).

For more information please see Conditions and syndromes related to or commonly occurring alongside autism.

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Other Challenges

Some adults with autism struggle to do some of the day to day things that other people may take for granted. For example, they may find it difficult to

  • move from one school to another or onto college.
  • find or keep a job.
  • manage their own finances.
  • run a home by themselves.
  • maintain a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet.
  • enjoy leisure and recreational opportunities.
  • travel safely and independently.
  • begin or maintain a friendship or a relationship.

In addition they may face exclusion, prejudice and/or bullying.

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Relatives and Carers

Relatives and carers of adults on the autism spectrum also face issues and problems. For example they may

  • carry the the worry and exhaustion of looking after someone with autism.
  • face the frustration of trying to cope with other people's attitudes, ignorance and prejudice (a problem also faced by people with autism themselves).
  • become frustrated by the lack of high quality information about interventions that can help.
  • become frustrated by the poor quality of some of the services designed to help them.
  • be concerned about whether they or any of their other children may have autism.

For more information please see Impact on the Family

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15 Jun 2022