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Is it possible to have autism and not know til an adult?
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Is it possible to have autism and not know til an adult?

Hi I am 43 years old and have been wondering if I have something like autism. When I was young I had the signs of autism but we had no family doctor so nothing unusual about a screaming kid in an emergency room when medical problems came. It was just treated as a behavior issue. Nothing more. As I grew up I now have some things going on that puzzle me and my family.  I can work at this computer but I cant drive a car. I can balance the checkbook but I cant know how or what bills I need to give the cashier to cover what I buy. I have to depend on their honesty if I give them too much money. I have problems with loud noise or anything that comes at me too fast. Muscle Jerking when anything comes at me to fast. I like things to be the same and I sometimes find myself repeating what I hear. I can do OK with these things just kinda wonder if autism may be worth mentioning to my neurologist when I see him for the jerking next time. Is it possible I could have autism and just not known it before now?
Tags: Adult with autism?
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Yeah, I'd say it would be possible.  I'm not a doctor, but they didn't diagnose that stuff when we were growing up.  You just toughed it out without help.  

I'd warn you though, having a diagnosis is going to make life harder for you unless that means you can get some sort of assistance financially through the government or elsewhere.  I was diagnosed with lupus several years ago, and now if I get health insurance independently outside of my husband's employment, it's really really expensive that it is unaffordable (I also have bad asthma so it's like a double whamy).  I think a diagnosis of autism might make a lot of health insurances deny you insurance.  Sure, you can get insurance through your job, but then you have to worry about getting layed off from work and if COBRA runs out, what do you do?  I guess you could get disability if you had a diagnosis.  You might also be able to get some sort of services to help you with your job.  But frankly, in my opinion, if you can't get anything out of being diagnosed, don't bother.  I wish doctors would just treat symptoms sometimes, because our health insurance system is so messed up.  Parents like getting a diagnosis for children because it means that early intervention therapies open up, and special assistance at school is available.  That is why I am so into getting my daughter therapies and diagnosis, etc. I worry what will happen to all these children who have autism when they turn 18, and what the health insurance companies will do.  I also pray at the same time my husband won't lose his job, because not sure what will happen to health insurance with my daughter if we can't get it through employment.  Hopefully by the time all these kids are 18 we'll have a better health insurance system in place.  I don't know what the government program offer for adults who have autism and if there are therapies, programs to offer assistance, etc.  It's a sad state our country is in, it seems once you hit 18, if you can't function in society, you're on your own.  I can't hold a job due to my autoimmune health issues (extreme fatigue, joint pain, and bad immune system that leaves me sick often that I really just focus on staying at home and being a mom), so I kinda see the problem you might be facing, albeit from a very different angle.  I really wish I had not been diagnosed.  I just wish the doctors had treated the symptoms instead.  Wonder if you can get help with symptoms you have without a diagnosis.  you could ask the neurologist what a diagnosis would mean at your age, if there is help out there, and if a diagnosis is a good thing or a bad thing.  
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I read in a book recently where a woman was diagnosed with asperges (which is a Pervasive developmental disorder like autism) at the age of 46.  She claimed that the resources and knowledge base consistant with her diagnosis were not well known when she was a little girl.  She was releived to finnally identify her diagnosis because she had such a difficult life in trying to fit in.  There are a variety of disorders that your problems may relate to so I would suggest that you discuss your concerns with your doctor and request a refferal to a specialist who may be better versed in identifying such issues.
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Thanks for your replies. I can see where you are comming from. Sometimes I think is its better without a diagnosis. Several years ago it was diagnosed as a disease that was supposed to kill me but time proved that was not what was wrong. But when the insurance companies heard the only help I had was my husbands insurance. I wasnt able to get disability because I had been a homemaker for all of my married life. So nothing in, nothing out. Anyways I have had many tests physical and mental to try and find out the cause but I never told them about the way I was as akid because I didn't think it was an issue, but lately I have learned a lot about the symptoms of autism and it has me wondering about mentioning it. I get along fine with my husband but if I was ever alone I would have trouble. I have tried to drive but I cant. The mental tests I had done showed I have trouble with attention, motor funtioning, language, and mental flexibility. But I have average intellegence and memory. I guess that is why I cant drive. But I have an appointment with my neurologist in a few weeks because they are treating me for the muscle jerks. I think if I tell them yes I will have trouble with insurance and I have got along OK so far but on the other hand I might find out what is wrong with me and my family may know too. I think sometimes they dont know why I cant function as an adult. It seems sometimes I am more like a kid. Thank you for writing and forgive my jumbleness.
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go to yahoo page  type in the google  this question
can a 43 ywaer old have autism there is a docto that ans questoins free also they have other colums just type in symtoms (symptoms) of autism  there are a lot of support groups there i really do not know much about this i do think a lot are mis diagnosed as a child i had to ans i really felt for you have you tried to drive or learn to count bills on your own not being nosy just trying to help i am a lot l\older than you  dont give up hang in there and try  keep us posted         jo
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i just noticed that in this forum they have a med help ask you dr about autism
lots luck to all jo
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i cannot seem to get this autism out of my mind i still think some people atr diagnosed wrong i have been reading what i could find i am a lot older that you i had a daughter that went to school and just laid her head down and teacher hit her hands with rukler and said she did not want to learn. but she was overweight also they did nit have a teacher for slow learners or even phycologists back then if they did i could not have afforded it yoday she does not know her months i just woder if she had autism oh well to late now she is 49 and she has cancer i wish that there was a way to e mail you personally to talk more there are a lot of things i could suggest i do not know enough about the computer to get my e mail address to you without all having it i made a profile but have not seen it yet as i did not complete it do you have a profile i can click on as a friend if not   lots luck
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I dont know if I have a profile either. I will try the google search. I have tried to driveand I can operate the car but I cant focus. I used to be able to count the bills but in the past year cant seem to do it very well. My husband just looks over my shoulder I think. I think too that lots of people who have it are missed but I am glad that now there is alot more known about it. It is good that they can get help now. I am sorry your daughter has cancer. Maybe people who find out past eighteen can help people learn how to help when all these kids who have autism are grown up. Just didnt have help in my day in school. You can post to me here dont know too much about the email either.
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I wonder some days if my husband has aspergers or something.  He has a PhD, can memorize lots of stuff and is a total brain, but can't balance a checkbook and doesn't seem to listen to me more than half the time.  He also can get up in front of a classroom and teach, but can't socialize at a party.  He also had some  sensory things growing up which he outgrew later on, like wouldn't let people hug him, they had to shake his hand and in middle school he went through counseling/therapy for some of his social problems, which helped him immensely later on in high school and as an adult.  So, not sure if you'd call it mild aspergers or being totally nerdy, but helps me understand my daughter somedays.  Evidently she's just like he was when he was a kid, but she has the sensory issues a little more and has more language delays than he did.  If you have some social issues, getting counseling might help.  It helped my husband when he was in middle school.  He learned ways to get around the socializing.  Like, he started doing drama club and doing speech and debate clubs.  You don't socialize there so much or it's a little easier sometimes.  Drama lets you talk and say stuff without the social interaction.  It's all scripted.  He excelled at drama, though partly because he was so good at memorizing scripts quicker than anyone else.  

I know you are an adult now, but if you need help with social issues, there are adult community theaters out there you could try out for.  There are speech clubs.  I think my brother joined something called Toastmasters because he needed help years back with socializing and talking to people.  Toastmasters helped him a lot.  Counseling might help you get past some of the sensory issues.  There might be medicines for the sensory issues.  I don't know if you are too old to do sensory integration therapy, but with my 2 year old daughter it involves taking a special brush and brushing her arms, legs, and back every 2 hours and then doing some joint compression activities.  I had my husband do the brush thing on me... it was nice, like getting a massage.  Heh, you could convince your husband you need some massage therapy!  Get a massage every night... um, because it will help your medical condition!  Maybe I should try that one on my husband sometime.  *grin*

I also think women who have autism have it differently from boys.  Okay, I read too much internet sometimes, which is where I got that from.  Seeing my daughter compared to boys who have autism, she likes to party.  She has problems socializing, but she tries to do it.  She wants to be the center of attention, if she can be.  She has some sensory problems, like with sounds as well as touch.  So when there are too many people, she can start to shut down and want to hide.  But if things are in our house and relatively calm, and in our house she knows her environment, she wants to be the center of it all.  Those days I don't think she's autistic at all.  So, maybe you do have autism or maybe you don't and have some sort of sensory integration thing.  Maybe my daughter just has sensory integration dysfunction.  I don't know.  Life is so uncertain.  Maybe the fact that boys are 4 times more likely than girls to have autism means that autism in girls is underdiagnosed.  I read something online that said that autism in women may be underdiagnosed because it is different than in men.  Also read that autism in women may come out as anorexia problems.  You can google "autism underdiagnosed in women" and see what pops up.  I have a friend who has sensory integration dysfunction.  He does not have autism, but he has problems with people touching him, with too much light or sounds.  He's oversensitive to all the senses. He's this really brilliant guy who never finished college because although he could ace everything, showing up to class was just really too hard for him, and he wasn't organized enough to do classes.  He was one of those people who got a perfect 1600 on his SATs yet for the longest time after dropping out of college was slinging hamburgers at a local diner.  He finally got help as an adult through counseling after enough of his friends kept harrassing him to go see someone to get help, and is now working as an IT computer person and finally finished his degree at a not as demanding college.  

Sorry to go on a lot, but I think there are lots of things you can do to get help, even without a diagnosis.  Seeing counselors, getting involved with community stuff like community theater.  I know you said you can't drive, but hopefully you live near enough to bus transportation or can get friends to drive you.  For awhile I couldn't drive, for lack of being able to afford a car, and I had to rely on public transportation and friends.  I know it can be really difficult and limits what you can do to how you can get there.  Just anything I said helps.  Life is really hard.  I think the only way to get through it with sanity, is with lots of prayer, lots of friends, and family.

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I agree with what you are saying. I know there are ways to cope and I think I do OK. I dont really think that I have to get a diagnosis of the sensory problems or autism its just that they are trying to find out why I have the muscle jerking. I guess to make sure it isnt something more serious. In the spring they done an EEG to see if it was seizures. Thank GOD no seizures but I noticed that the flashing lights, the hyperventilating caused the jerking to be very bad. I know certain things can trigger it. Like loud noise, lights flashing, too much to try to absorb at one time. I went to an auction with my husband one day and when that guy started yelling all that auction talk all I could do was cover my ears until we left. People were looking at me like its an auction what do you expect? Its kinda funny now but it was not only loud but it was like I couldn't process what he was saying and I couldn't stand it. Just plugged my ears. Anyways maybe I will just bring that up with my neuroligist without mentioning the word autism.
Maybe I can get my husband to go along with the massage thing. As far as the social situations I think I can relate to your daughter and husband. When I was a kid all I wanted to do was rock, or cry. Still catch myself rocking sometimes. But any social activity forget it. As I was growing up I kinda hid behind my sister when I could. Her friends were my friends, ect. But now if I am comfortable I am even long winded. But if not I do tend to hide behind my husband. As far as the getting into social situations now. My husband is an evangelist and I am with him whenever he goes to preach and that is social. Usually we are in the Christmas play things like that. And in high school I was good in acting not because I am able to memorize but I was able to see myself as the character and it didnt seem like acting. Now my favorite hobby is ventriliquizim. I have done it in front of a whole church full of kids at Bible School and I think even the adults were starting to get caught up in it. I enjoy it. Sorry if I am bragging now dont mean to just explaining the social thing.
I think I will just bring up the EEG and how it triggered the jerking with the neuro. Maybe it is now just a senses thing. Thanks and keep up the good work supporting your daughter and husband.
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I am glad that you have learned to live with this it is good that you have such a nice family so i dont think you have to worry to much i read mm888mom ans that was great advice, i know that on computer you have to go to home page before you can write in the column below it is profile i think you fill that-  out . then i can click on your ans and it says ans as friend      lots luck\   jo
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OK I think I have a profile.
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325405_tn?1262293778
Do you live in Indiana?  
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Yes I live in Indiana. Where do you live?
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325405_tn?1262293778
Indianapolis, Pike Township
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Small world even in the wide world of web. I live down south in Clark County. We go north once in awhile but havent been in Indy just through it.
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My sister brought up this subject of autism to me on Monday concerning my 17-year-old son.    I realize that autism is a spectrum disorder and it affects each individual differently and at varying degrees.   Some individuals mildly affected may exhibit only slight delays in language and greater challenges with social interactions.  My son has difficulty with social interactions such as attending school.  He has always had difficulty in mixing with others as well as difficulty to normal teaching methods presented in schools.  Autism is associated with learning disabilities and my son has learning disabilities.  I understand that Autism can be difficult to diagnose as it is a complex condition and symptoms are variable.  It can go undetected for many years especially in those who are at the more able end of the spectrum where the signs are more subtle.   Autism impacts development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills and this is true in my son.   He prefers to being alone or in small environments.  He is obsessive.  He has obsessive thoughts.  He tells me he does not feel pain like other people.  I never thought about this possibility until my sister mentioned it.  People with autism are not all like "Rain Man"; they can speak and show affection as well.  Autism should not be ruled out simply because my son is 17 and does not have all the signs but a few.  I would like to discuss this issue with a qualified doctor and have my son evaluated as if autism is the case with him, it would explain the past years with all his issues.  Not to say that I want him to be diagnosed with autism but I would rather know than not.  It would give some peace and understanding to the past years.  
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I understand exactly what you are saying about your son.  I still dont know if I have autism and I may never know but sometimes I would just like some answers.  Not that I want autism either but I wonder why I cant do the things people do everyday without even thinking about it.  I had neuropycological tests done when they were trying to figure out the movement disorder I have and it showed a low score on attention, concentration, and whatever switching cognitive set means but my intellegence is normal and so is memory.  I always thought it was memory but I guess I just wasnt getting it to begin with.  Also I had language problems.  I think bringing the topic of autism up with my neuro may answer alot of questions for them.  Sorry to go on about myself.  Keep advocating for your son it may answer questions that may come up later in his life.  
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Do not worry about going on and on about yourself as you have legitmate concerns and it would be nice for you to know what is going on just for your own peace of mind.  I have two other children and none of them have the issues that my oldest sons has and so when my sister brought up autism, I read a bit about it.  My sons issues might stem from autism.  I am going to be proactive and get him evaluated.  Like I said I would rather know than not know.  It would explain his issues past and present.  Good luck to you.  
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I hope all goes well with your son.  Keep us updated.  I have got a lot of support and info from all these posts.  Thank you all.  Does anyone know what changing cognitive set means?  I have recently got a copy of my medical records and that is one of the results on a neurophycological test.
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myo, to answer your question, yes, yes and yes.  I personally know many persons with autism who got he diagnosis late into adulthood.  If you get the diagonosis, this opens you up to government and non-profit services to help you in your challenges that won't normally be offered to neuro-typicals.

These persons with autism are sucessful computer consultants, psychologists, writers, and accountants.  They had to make accomodations for their disAbility.  

The world is a hard enough place to navagate even as a nero-typical (NT), much less with autism!
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Please excuse my ignorance but what is nero-typical?
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nero-typical is the word autistics use to describe non-autistic people. In other words the people considered "normal" or "neurologically typical"  Truthfully there is no typical person, but the term works to decribe the people not autistic.
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