II
Commonly Associated Conditions


This section is short.

Professional literature on Autistic Spectrum Disorders is rife with discussion concerning other conditions commonly associated with AS children and adults. Two clinical conditions have already been identified: Depression and anxiety. They remain life-long conditions for persons diagnosed with AS. How each condition is managed in later life b.orges quite an individual matter, unique to each person.

Other conditions include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, although the "hyperactive" character of ADD rarely continues much beyond late adolescence. The likelihood that a child is not primarily ADHD is often confirmed by the decreased effectiveness over time of the types of medication, educational and other and treatment modalities prescribed for "real" ADHD. On the other hand, ADD-Inattentive Type does appear to be a condition shared by a good number of individuals eventually diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are discussed above. It is possible for AS individuals to have trace elements of both conditions continue on into adulthood, but it is more.orgmon that a late and accurate diagnosis within the family of pervasive developmental disorders or PDD's (of which AS is a member) accounts for some traits of both disorders.

Chronic sleep problems are.orgmon in many children and adults diagnosed with AS. Sleep deprivation is often not seen for what it truly is and what it does to behavior, especially in children. Ear infections as well as hearing problems are surprisingly.orgmon in autistic children. In AS children and adults, Central Auditory Processing Disorder is often responsible for the individual's incapacity to hear directions, instructions, poor auditory memory, or their difficulty following conversation or directions in noisy environments. Vision difficulties are often reported early in children later diagnosed with ASD. Even with perfect acuity, ASD children and adults may experience problems processing visual imagery or accurately recalling details so that their working visual memory is not impaired. Central Vision Processing Disorder (best diagnosed by behavioral optometrists familiar with how the eyes function in relation to the rest of cognition rather than what they only "see) is a.orgmon reason why AS children and adults develop severe problems with handwriting.

Boundary violations of all kinds are prevalent features of AS conduct. Children are prone to bump into things or be unaware of where their body parts are in relation to one another or to the external world (proprioceptive difficulties). Many AS children and adults have profound difficulty understanding the concept of physical and social "appropriate distance". They must be patiently trained to.orgprehend these concepts. Of course, understanding boundaries has other implications as well. If a person remains unaware of the meaning of socially appropriate distance and one's own personal physical boundaries, there follows a reduced likelihood that one can begin to understand psychological distance, differences between "yours and mine" and the very concept of other's personal needs to protect their own psychic as well as physical space.

Clumsiness, problems with balance and coordination are conditions reported with much higher incidence in persons with AS. Faced with formidable developmental challenges obvious to their age-mates as responsible for much of their social rejection by them, AS children develop other means of.orgpensating for their delayed coordination. Already "in their heads" a lot by reason of having an idiosyncratic way of thinking, AS children and adults depend upon their intellect and memory to leverage acceptance by anyone taken in by their unique way of being. Invariably, those most impressed by their exploits are adults or younger children. By both groups their physical clumsiness isn't seen as the same kind of impediment responsible for rejection by the AS child's age mates. Unless care givers and educators know how to sensitively handle the issue of including clumsy AS children in non.orgpetitive interactions with their peers, AS adults remain mindful throughout their lives about the doors to social acceptance slammed shut against them during their childhood and adolescence.

Through the self-report of AS children and adults.orges overwhelming evidence that sensory issues of all kinds overwhelm them. Autistic individuals experience hyposensitivity as well as hypersensitivity. Their reaction to sensory stimulation of the wrong kind is sometimes abrupt and unpredictable. Textures, tastes, smells, certain visual and auditory conditions, all affect AS individuals differently and uniquely. An autistic person's reactions to sensory overload can be mild or severe and often cannot be explained unless the observer understands the stressors that have built up a person's "charge" to a breaking point. Many AS children seen by Occupational Therapists trained in sensory integration techniques benefit from a variety of "sense-making" and "sense-management" techniques that can be learned. If a child is disturbed by sensorially overwhelming experiences, or needs an "extra dose" of a vital sensory experience to function, the child remains unready to learn until the situation is corrected. The same is true for many AS adults, although by the time of adulthood, many persons aware of their sensory issues know what is necessary to maximize their learning or performance potential.

Sensory issues are so influential for many AS individuals that one AS woman described the effect of staunching a sensory reaction as trying to stop vomiting when you have the fluit just isnt possible.

Many individuals diagnosed with AS experience dietary intolerance to certain basic food substances such as gluten or dairy. The incidence of immune system reactions associated with digestive disorders is much higher with autistic individuals than the standard population. Diverticulitis, Celiac Disease and Krohn's Disease are three such disorders. Neurological disorders such as fibromyalgia also have a higher incidence and earlier onset date in autistic individuals.

Reduction of distressed behavior of many children (and fewer adults) once certain substances are removed from their diet is widely reported but still largely ignored by traditional medical providers. This is the reason why parents of autistic children often turn to naturopaths and holistic medical practitioners whose approach to differences in human conduct is much different than their Western medical counterparts.

 

Entire Article: AS Grows Up - Recognizing Adults Today with AS 

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For More Information Contact:

Roger N. Meyer at  rogernmeyer@earthlink.net

AS Grows Up; Recognizing Adults in Today's Challenging World
Outline
Introduction
Commonly Associated Conditions
Traits by Age
AS " in" the Family
Adult Diagnosis and the Aftermath

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"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony.
Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, some are the harmony
It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial.
We all contribute to the song of life."
...Sondra Williams

We might not always agree; but TOGETHER we will make a difference.

 

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