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Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults and Children

Updated on April 8, 2020
viking305 profile image

L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles. She has autism spectrum disorder—on the high functioning end of the spectrum.

Autism in Children.  PJ has Aspergers
Autism in Children. PJ has Aspergers | Source

Autism Spectrum Disorders ASD

Support for a child with Aspergers Syndrome and their family is getting better all over the world. I have given links to some websites that offer this healthcare support. There are also websites for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD who have only been recently diagnosed.

Aspergers Syndrome or ASD

Most specialists are now diagnosing people with Aspergers as on the ASD Chart at the highest end. This is because there is a move to get all autistic type symptoms into the ASD Chart. The reason behind this change is unclear. In this article I will continue to call it Aspergers Syndrome.

Symptoms of ASD

Adults and children who have been diagnosed with Aspergers have severe difficulty with social interaction. They also have very specific problems with understanding language and how it is used especially within the social setting. An inability to breathe correctly while speaking can also affect some children. Another aspect of Aspergers Syndrome is the tendency to take what people say literally.

This can be a major problem with children and young adults who have not yet been diagnosed with AS. Until they are this aspect of the condition is not obvious to the main carers of children. This can cause some dangerous and often stressful situations.

Austrian Pediatrician Hans Asperger

Asperger's Syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger. He published the first definition in 1944. He observed four hundred children and noticed a pattern in their behavior which included, inability to form friendships, a lack of empathy with others, one-sided conversations, intense absorption in a special interest or interests, and clumsy movements.

But it was not until the early 1990s, that Hans Asperger's findings began to gain notice and acceptance in the wider medical world. It is generally accepted that there a number of specific characteristics that a person with the condition will display in varying degrees of severity.

Living with Asperger's

Difficulty with Social Interaction

When a very small child, children with AS will happily play all day on their own. As they grow older though they have to interact with other people socially and it then becomes a problem. Once school is attended the child will realize that having friends is unattainable for them.

They do not understand how to see the verbal and nonverbal cues that are used in typical social interactions. They cannot understand why other children do not want to know every detail of a particular subject that they are interested in.


As they get older they become isolated and withdrawn. Some children and young adults have no desire to make friends and are quite happy in their own isolation. Some people with AS have problems in working out facial expressions and body language.

They cannot grasp the idea that during a conversation taking turns in expressing their views is essential. Or that they should give the other person time to express their view on the subject. These social skills are essential to form friendships. So usually a child with Aspergers has no friends their own age.


Most older children and young adults with the condition are aware of the value of friendships. Social interaction is needed in everything in life. Though they would always find it hard to find and keep friends the desire and longing of companionship never leaves them.

People need to make long life friends from school and college in order to have a network of support and encouragement in their future endeavors in life. As an adult it is important to make friends in work enabling the person to become part of the company and a candidate for promotion.

To attract a lifelong partner and therefore enjoy love and companionship in their life is the normal endeavor of most people. Adults with Aspergers Syndrome find social interaction a struggle. This will cause adults to suffer stress and anxiety in these situations.

My Aspergers Story

Language Skills

Most people with autism have problems understanding language and gestures within a social setting. People with AS feel the need to communicate their knowledge of a certain topic they have an interest in. They share facts and information quite happily without realising that other people have no interest in the subject.

A major problem especially with children and young adults with ASD is their tendency to take what people say to them literally. Once a person is older then this trait is somewhat controllable. I am 60 years old and still get caught out quite often by taking what my family says to me literally.

When the child has been diagnosed the parents will then be aware of this particular tendency and will speak to the child or young adult carefully in order to get the desired communication across.

Assistance Dogs for Children with Autism
Assistance Dogs for Children with Autism | Source

Routine is Calming

A very young child will be happiest with routine. As they get older they will create their own routine and insist that it is kept. A family who is aware that their child is different but is not aware that they have Aspergers and what the traits of AS are will usually fall in with the child’s desire for particular routines within the household.

The parents become aware of the child’s calmness and happiness once these are implemented so agree to them. This is unfortunately not the case once they start school. Both parents and the child go through a very stressful and dangerous part of their life until the child is finally diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.

Obsession with a Particular Interest

The child with Aspergers will have obsessions with particular interests and spend hours of everyday immersed in this subject. They believe that everyone else is also fascinated by this particular topic and get annoyed when other people do not respond to their continuous sharing of information on the subject.

Motor Clumsiness

Many people with Aspergers Syndrome have difficulty with fine motor skills. Typical difficulties include handwriting, riding a bike, and most sports with ball skills.

Sensory Sensitivities

These can occur in one or all of the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The degree of difficulty varies from one Aspergers person to another.


Touch can be a major problem. A child has no control over what they wear. If the parent is unaware of this touch sensory issue then the child will go through a very stressful and painful part of their life.

Only certain clothes will be alright for this child. If they are forced to wear other types of material then they suffer a real and painful reaction. To them certain clothes and shoes will make them want to explode with pain. This is a real problem for those younger children who have not yet been diagnosed with Aspergers and therefore their parents are totally unaware of the real pain their child is suffering.


Certain sounds can send a person with Aspergers Syndrome crazy. Each person with Aspergers will have their own sound sensitivity. It could be traffic, electrical equipment or any everyday normal sound that people without the condition do not even hear. The sound will cause physical pain and anxiety and stress.


A child with ASD can have a bad reaction to any type of food. Certain foods will make them want to be physically sick and no amount of bribing or threats will make the child feel different about certain foods.

All people with AS have different degrees in their tolerance of tastes and texture of food. Once they become adults they have control of their own diet and this stressful part of their life is eliminated.

Smell and Sight

Certain smells will also make a person with Aspergers want to be physically sick. These smells may not even be detectable to other people but they can cause a bad physical reaction in the person with AS. Photographs or television programmes about certain subjects will also cause stress and anxiety to some people with the condition.

ASD Diagnosis in Children

Each individual person with the condition will have their own combination and severity of the above. Once a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder their behavior can be explained by the above traits. They stop being labeled as aggressive and uncooperative in school and are given the particular help needed to make their experience in the outside world as less frightening and threatening as possible.

For the sanity of both parents and children it is best that the condition is diagnosed as soon as possible before school age but this is not always the case. Children with Aspergers Syndrome are at the mercy of their parents understanding of the condition. A child with ASD has their home life made bearable only by their parents actions.

If the parents are able to realize the individual traits of Aspergers that their child has, then a routine and acceptable family life can be organised around the child. They will also be able to become the advocate for their children in the outside world of school and medical appointments.

Diagnosis in Adults

For an adult who knew they were different but did not know why then being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a relief. They realize that their habits and confusion of the outside world was not their fault. Usually an adult will be diagnosed only when their own children have also got the condition and they have gone to the specialists for help with their child.

Once they learn the characteristics of ASD they begin to realize that they too have suffered from all or some of these traits all their life too. I believe once a child or adult has been diagnosed then the life of those children and adults can then be made so much easier and enriched with understanding of these unique individuals.


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    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Lambservant thank you for sharing the story of your son. Unfortunately it would have been better for him have been diagnosed sooner but at least wilth these other two new diagnoses he may be able to get the combination of medication and emotional support from the professionals.

      It must be so frustrating and heartbreaking for you to see your son so unhappy and confused. All you can do is be there for him when he asks for advice or comfort.

      God Bless

      Thank you thewritingowl for sharing this article, I apprecieate it

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Just shared this on my facebook and twitter.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      The videos are so powerful. I have a 20 year old son with Asp. however, he was not diagnosed until middle school or so. His growing up years were, and still are, very painful. I am kind of weepy remembering the frustration we had with each other, his struggles to connect with people. He has many friends at this point, but his relationships are difficult. He lives with his father and I talk to him daily and see him from time to time, so I don't really understand all his relationship dynamics.

      He is also diagnosed with Bipolar and now PTSD from a somewhat recent trauma. My heart breaks because he is intelligent, personable most of the time, but is just drifting right now. No job, no motivation to do anything in life but hang out with unhealthy people, smoke pot, and live in a world of constant emotional upheaval. He gets suicidal.

      If only I'd known he had aspergers as a child, and been able to work with him and an experienced professional on how to handle him, I think he may not be so broken now.

      You have done a great service to many people by writing this hub and especially the videos. Fabulous job.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Aspergers Syndrome is more understood these days and more children are being diagnosed earlier. This is so important for them to get the help they need.

      creativelycc I am glad your niece was diagnosed early and she has supportive parents, it makes such a big difference.

      thewritingowl thanks for your comment and I will visit your articles soon about Autism

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Even the comments are good too. Yes it was a great AS article and I agree with your take on it too. Please read my Hub Page Articles sometime I write a lot about trying to improve Autism Services for all autistic people living in Ireland. Have a FB too

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Very good information. There is a wealth of good information here. There has been much advancement with the diagnosing and treatment of patients with Aspergers Syndrome and autism. My niece was diagnosed with autism a few years ago, she is only eight years old. She is blessed to have wonderful parents who are pro-active and advocate for her. I enjoyed and learned from this article.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Baileybear Yes that usually happens. You will find that a few family members have Aspergers Syndrome in one form or another once a child has been diagnosed. I was the same, suddenly you realise there has been a reason why you struggled all those years.

      SD Dickens It is such a relief when you finally know why your child acts the way they do. And once the correct treatment has been given things get so much better for everyone too.

    • SD Dickens profile image

      SD Dickens 

      9 years ago

      Great article. It was definitely a relief for me when my son was diagnosed with Aspergers. Suddenly there was a reason for all of the issues. Before the diagnosis, I thought I was just a bad parent. I'm grateful that I got the correct diagnosis and was able to address the Aspergers with a variety of treatments.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Although raising my boy (7y) is often frustrating & exhausting, his Asperger's diagnosis lead to me learning that I am affected by mild AS too, which has been a revelation why I struggled so much in the workplace etc despite being highly qualified. I've written some hubs about our journey

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you Aiden for reading and your comment I apprediate it.

    • Aiden Roberts profile image

      Aiden Roberts 

      10 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is fantastic information, I actually have a tear in my eye reading and watching.

      A must read, deserves every accolade.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you MPG Narratives for your kind comments. Yes the subject of Aspergers Syndrome is something I am very interested in for obvious reasons. I was aware of Autism in the 1990's but had never heard of Aspergers Syndrome. It is getting better known now especially with the advent of the internet.

      I still believe it is extremely important to make as many people as possible in the world aware of the condition and that way many more children will have their suffering stopped and begin to get help from their doctor, parents and teachers.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      hypnosis4u2 thank you for reading the AS hubs and your comment. Yes everything is harder for people with Aspergers. Imagine the stress for a very young child if he or she has noise and touch sensitivity to an extreme degree.

      I have these and it was a nightmare for me as a child. We had no idea what was wrong with me only I did not like loud or sudden noises and HATED crowds of people. I begged my mother NOT to have a birthday party for me at the age of 6 and thankfully she agreed and I have never had one since.

      As an adult of 54 I have learnt to accept the triggers of stress and avoid them as much as possible. I live in a city and traffic noise is a nightmare for me. I have to put up with it and as an adult I can accept this and know how long it will last. Now imagine a very small child who is dragged around the street screaming by their parents. Because they have not realised this child has a noise sentisivity they are unaware they are causing pain.

      Young children who have Aspergers and also have one of the sensitivity traits are under constant stress. If they have not yet been diognosed with Aspergers Syndrome then they, their parents and teachers do not understand this. When eventually it all comes too much for them because they can not express their fear and stress they lose control and have a tantrum or meltdown.

      They are useually labelled as uncontrollable and naughty until after many more tears and tantrums the parents realise this is not just their child acting up for attention.

      I was very lucky because my father has AS and my mother accepted both of us were different.

      Although a Diognosis of Aspergers Syndrome for their child is devastating for the parents at the time, once the condition is understood the child can then start to live a happy life.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Sorry for the delay in answering and Acknowledging the last 3 comments above.

      Bayoulady thanks for reading and your comment, yes unfortunatley a lot of adults and children go undiognosed with AS and this can cause problems especially in schools for teachers, children and parents.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Maria Giunta 

      10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Amazingly concise article on Aspergers Syndrome, lots of good information for a condition which is so misdiagnosed. Well done.

    • hypnosis4u2 profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      I'm glad to see this subject being tackled by somebody who is living with it. As parents its impossible to really understand what is going on in the head. You've done a remarkable job with your hubs.

    • bayoulady profile image


      10 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      A Great hub! Very well put together, and the vidoes were well chosen.

      As a teacher I have had several autistic students, and two asperger's syndrome students. It is much easier to understand a person's behaviour after a diagnosis. I'm fairly sure I have had several students who were undiagnosed in my classroom over the years.

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      10 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      Thank You for your comments Viking305 they are well taken. Keep up the good work. God Bless!

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for reading the articles CYBERSUPE. Yes it is so important for the child and parents to get an early diagnoses of Aspergers. As my nephew PJ explained he went through hell as a child of 5 and 6 because he did not know what was wrong with him. This was in the early 1990’s and not much was known of AS then. I will never forget his cries as he said over and over again, 'No one can help me', a terrible thing to hear your 5 year old say as he begs for help.

      The important thing for your grandson is an early diagnosis and then he and his parents can start to enjoy life again as they learn how to support each other in accepting his difference and uniqueness in this world. As PJ says at 15 years old, Aspergers Syndrome is not all bad.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for your comment JayPyramid. Yes i also watch that programme Fair City. with Robert the AS character in it. The programme makers have certainly done a lot of research on the Aspergers Syndrome condition. It all helps for people to understand how the AS mind works in a normal social and work situation.

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      10 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      Very good Hub. We have a grandson who we believe has Aspergers and by reading your articles we now have a better idea what Aspergers is all about. Thanks for the information.

    • Jaypyramid profile image


      10 years ago

      Very informative Viking. Yes Ann Marie, years ago people with AS were labeled as 'queer' or 'eccentric' or 'a loner'. At least now, there is more information about. The Irish soap programme 'Fair City' has a character with AS in, and it can be quite informative for people. I like the character and the way the show is portraying him, because it can be very amusing when he takes things literally. He is an adult and has a supportive network of friends around him so it is not as 'distressing' as watching some of the documentarys about AS. The recent one about the children and the acting was very good but also distressing sometimes to watch as these children and their families can go through very distressing times. It definitely helps when you understand it.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      10 years ago from Ireland

      Yes it is very frustrating and stressful for the person who is misdiognosed. Once a person has been told they have AS it explains so much about their life and why they are different.

      I find expesially in adults that have been told they have Aspergers Syndrome that it is such a relief to know that there is a reason why they are the way they are. It helps them cope with their life a lot better

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Very informative!! I have known several people who have Aspergers, and were misdiagnosed, or the issue was ignored all together, and the person was just labeled as weird or different. Thank you!!


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