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4 Key Supports for Autistic Adults [Lived Experience]

Keith Greenwood  |  21/05/2021

Keith Greenwood explains four key support services if you are an autistic adult. 
Sensory garden museum.

Introduction

As an autistic adult, you may need different types of supports depending on your needs. . What makes a particular support service good often depends on involvement by both parties. Here are four primary support services that can be used.

1. Medication

If you have co-occurring ADHD, certain types of medication can be a useful way of supporting yourself. A good support service with medicine does not just write you a prescription and be done with it. 

Medication helps but all the answers are not in the pill alone. It regular consultations with the prescribing physician and psychologist to adjust for lifestyle, effects, changes in body size and mental health. 

If you begin to notice negative changes in your day while on medication it is important to discuss with the prescribing physician to see if there are any other factors and to adjust your intake accordingly. Do not self medicate or adjust your medication intake without consultation.

2. Family

It is important to remember the support structures of family and friends. Even when they are difficult and even when they may not be enough for all of your problems. Your social circle and immediate family are a valuable resource to help you through the day. Even as you get older and they cannot be available all the time.  

While psychological assistance from outside sources is necessary the assistance of your family both as a source of information and emotional support is a resource you should always lean on. Having a supportive family structure who help intervene at an early age leads to a far more positive outcomes for individuals with ADHD or autism. They may not know how to help you with every challenge of autism but they can get you the help you need, such as psychologists.

3. Psychologists

The first task of the psychologist is to assess the nature of your neurodiversity. Which helps them determine the best way to support you.

In regards to ongoing support psychologists provide aid with social cues and interactions. They help in improving your relationships at school or work. How to interact and communicate with people in ways that cause less stress.  

Autism in its many forms can cause heightened emotional distress within standard family and other support systems. Which can cause relationship difficulties made all the more painful because of both sides’ emotional investment.

While communication with family and friends is important a good psychologist provides a sounding board during challenging times. Their calm impartiality can be extremely relaxing and reassuring. Their confidentiality means you can share with them things you would not be comfortable discussing with others. You can trust a good psychologist to keep your confidence and work for you regardless of who is paying for their services. They also can also determine the work and learning difficulties that you may face and recommend you to specific assistance such as occupational therapists.

4. Occupational Therapists

Not to be confused with physical therapists, occupational therapists are for help with specific areas of your life. Areas where your autism is creating difficulty. The  first task is always determining the nature of the problem. 

Good occupational therapists do not automatically fix your problem. They help you find the best way to fix it yourself. Recurring and necessary tasks that you handle at home, organisational aid, communication with others. 

Occupational therapy focuses on life skills and vocational paths.  So that you can live as independently as possible. Developing exercises and plans that you can implement on your own away from the therapist’s office. Occupational therapists focus more on the small practical things that let you get through the day easier.  

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