What Does Autism Do to a Person?

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects people differently, and the severity of the disorder can vary greatly from person to person. In this article, we will explore what autism does to a person and how it affects their lives.

reuben kesherim
Ruben Kesherim
December 16, 2023

What Does Autism Do to a Person?

Understanding Autism

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals in various ways. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the long-term effects of autism, it is essential to first grasp the basics of this condition. This section will explore what autism is and the different types of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

What is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, interact socially, and process information. It is typically diagnosed in early childhood and is characterized by a wide range of symptoms and varying levels of impairment.

Individuals with autism often experience challenges in social interaction, communication, and behavior. They may have difficulty understanding and responding to social cues, making eye contact, and engaging in reciprocal conversations. Furthermore, individuals with autism may exhibit repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, and sensory sensitivities.

It is important to note that autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it presents differently in each individual. The severity of symptoms can vary greatly, ranging from mild to severe. Some individuals with autism may have exceptional abilities in specific areas, such as mathematics or music, while others may face significant challenges in multiple aspects of daily life.

Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Within the autism spectrum, there are different types of autism spectrum disorders. These include:

  1. Autistic Disorder (Classic Autism): This is the most well-known and severe form of autism. It is characterized by significant impairments in social interaction, communication, and the presence of repetitive behaviors.
  2. Asperger Syndrome: Individuals with Asperger syndrome typically have average or above-average intelligence but struggle with social interaction and may have intense interests in specific subjects.
  3. Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): This diagnosis was used for individuals who displayed some autism-related symptoms but did not fit the criteria for other specific ASD diagnoses. It is no longer used as a separate diagnostic category in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Understanding the different types of autism spectrum disorders helps to recognize the diverse range of challenges and strengths that individuals with autism may possess. To support individuals with autism in their journey, early intervention programs, therapy, and communication strategies play a crucial role.

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Long-Term Effects of Autism

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience various long-term effects that can impact different aspects of their lives. Understanding these effects is crucial for parents and caregivers in order to provide appropriate support and resources. In this section, we will explore the social and communication challenges, behavioral and emotional impacts, and educational and employment outcomes that individuals with autism may face in the long term.

Social and Communication Challenges

One of the core features of autism spectrum disorder is difficulty with social interaction and communication. Individuals with autism may struggle with understanding and interpreting social cues, making it challenging to form and maintain relationships. They may have difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact or interpreting facial expressions and body language. These social and communication challenges can persist into adulthood and impact an individual's ability to navigate social situations and build meaningful connections with others.

Behavioral and Emotional Impacts

Autism spectrum disorder can also have significant behavioral and emotional impacts on individuals. Some individuals with autism may exhibit repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, or sensory sensitivities. These behaviors can affect their daily functioning and interactions with others. Additionally, individuals with autism may experience difficulties regulating their emotions, leading to emotional outbursts or meltdowns in certain situations. Understanding and managing these behavioral and emotional impacts is crucial for providing appropriate support and interventions.

Educational and Employment Outcomes

The long-term effects of autism can also extend to educational and employment outcomes. Individuals with autism may face challenges in academic settings, such as difficulties with attention, organization, and social interactions within the school environment. It is essential to provide individualized education plans (IEPs) and support services to address their specific needs and maximize their educational potential.

As individuals with autism transition into adulthood, they may encounter unique challenges in finding and maintaining employment. However, with appropriate vocational training, accommodations, and support, many individuals with autism can excel in the workplace and contribute to society. Exploring vocational training and employment opportunities specifically designed for individuals with autism is crucial to enhance their chances of success.

Understanding the long-term effects of autism is essential for parents and caregivers to provide the necessary support and interventions. By addressing the social and communication challenges, behavioral and emotional impacts, and educational and employment outcomes associated with autism, individuals with autism can lead fulfilling lives and reach their full potential.

Impact on Daily Living

Living with autism can have a significant impact on various aspects of daily life. Individuals with autism may face challenges in developing independent living skills, navigating relationships and social interactions, and maintaining their overall health and well-being.

Independent Living Skills

Autism can affect the development of independent living skills, which are essential for individuals to lead self-sufficient lives. Tasks such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, time management, and household chores may require additional support and instruction for individuals with autism.

Developing independent living skills often involves targeted interventions and training. Early intervention programs, such as early intervention for autism, can provide strategies and support to help individuals build these skills and promote their independence.

Relationships and Social Interactions

Individuals with autism may experience difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, as well as navigating social interactions. Challenges in communication and social skills can impact their ability to understand social cues, engage in reciprocal conversations, and interpret nonverbal cues.

It is important to provide individuals with autism with appropriate support and strategies to develop their social skills. Speech therapy and social skills training can be beneficial in improving communication and promoting successful interactions with peers and family members.

Health and Well-being

Autism can also have an impact on the overall health and well-being of individuals. Certain behaviors associated with autism, such as restricted interests, sensory sensitivities, and repetitive behaviors, may affect their engagement in physical activities and participation in a healthy lifestyle.

It is essential to address the unique needs of individuals with autism to promote their health and well-being. This may involve creating sensory-friendly environments, incorporating coping strategies, and providing accommodations to support their physical and emotional well-being.

Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and addressing any co-occurring medical conditions are also crucial for individuals with autism. Collaborating with healthcare professionals, including occupational therapists and nutritionists, can help develop personalized plans to support their health.

Understanding and addressing the impact of autism on daily living is crucial in providing appropriate support and interventions. By focusing on building independent living skills, promoting social interactions, and prioritizing health and well-being, individuals with autism can lead fulfilling lives.

Transitioning into Adulthood

As individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) transition from childhood to adulthood, it is important to consider the support services and resources available to help navigate this stage of life. Transitioning into adulthood can bring new challenges and opportunities, and having the right support can greatly enhance the quality of life for individuals with autism.

Support Services and Resources

During the transition period, there are a variety of support services and resources available to individuals with autism and their families. These services aim to provide guidance and assistance in areas such as healthcare, education, and community involvement. Some common support services include:

Support Service Description
Autism organizations Non-profit organizations dedicated to providing support, information, and resources for individuals with autism and their families. These organizations often offer guidance on navigating services, access to support groups, and educational materials.
Support groups Local support groups bring together individuals with autism and their families, providing a platform for sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and offering mutual support. These groups can be valuable for connecting with others who understand the unique aspects of living with autism.
Case management services Case managers can help coordinate and navigate the various services and supports available to individuals with autism. They can provide guidance on accessing healthcare, educational resources, and other necessary services.
Financial assistance programs Some individuals with autism may be eligible for financial assistance programs that provide support for healthcare, housing, employment, and other essential needs. It is important to explore available programs and resources specific to the region.

Vocational Training and Employment Opportunities

Finding suitable vocational training and employment opportunities is a key aspect of transitioning into adulthood for individuals with autism. Vocational training programs are designed to develop job-related skills and provide individuals with the tools they need to succeed in the workforce. Some options to consider include:

Vocational Training ProgramDescription
Job coaching and job placement servicesThese programs offer personalized support and guidance to individuals with autism, helping them develop job skills, search for employment opportunities, and navigate the job application process. Job coaches provide ongoing assistance and supervision in the workplace to help individuals succeed.
Vocational rehabilitation programsVocational rehabilitation services focus on assisting individuals with disabilities, including autism, in preparing for and finding meaningful employment. These programs provide job training, support, and resources tailored to the individual's needs and abilities.
Supported employment programsSupported employment programs offer individuals with autism the opportunity to work in a supported environment where they receive ongoing assistance and accommodations to help them succeed in their job. These programs prioritize finding employment options that align with the individual's interests and abilities.
Self-employment and entrepreneurshipSome individuals with autism may choose to explore self-employment or entrepreneurship as a viable option. This path allows for greater flexibility and the ability to create a work environment that meets their unique needs. Local resources and business development programs can provide valuable guidance and support for individuals interested in pursuing this avenue.

Advocacy and Community Involvement

Advocacy and community involvement play a crucial role in supporting individuals with autism as they transition into adulthood. By advocating for the rights and needs of individuals with autism, it helps to create a more inclusive society. Some avenues for advocacy and community involvement include:

  • Participating in local autism advocacy groups and initiatives.
  • Volunteering with organizations that support individuals with autism.
  • Attending community events and workshops focused on autism awareness and acceptance.
  • Engaging with policymakers and advocating for policies that support individuals with autism and their families.

By actively engaging in advocacy and community involvement, individuals with autism and their families can contribute to a more inclusive and supportive environment that recognizes and respects the unique strengths and challenges of individuals with autism.

Transitioning into adulthood can be a significant time of change and growth for individuals with autism. By accessing the right support services and resources, exploring vocational training and employment opportunities, and actively participating in advocacy and community involvement, individuals with autism can navigate this transition period with confidence and enhance their overall quality of life.

Enhancing Quality of Life

While the long-term effects of autism can present various challenges, there are strategies and interventions available to enhance the quality of life for individuals with autism. Early intervention and therapy, individualized education plans, and building a supportive network are key areas to focus on.

Early Intervention and Therapy

Early intervention plays a crucial role in supporting individuals with autism and their families. The sooner interventions begin, the better the outcomes can be. Early intervention programs typically involve a multidisciplinary approach, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.

These therapies focus on developing communication skills, social interaction abilities, and adaptive behaviors. ABA therapy, in particular, has shown significant effectiveness in improving communication, reducing problem behaviors, and enhancing daily living skills.

Individualized Education Plans

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are essential tools for addressing the unique educational needs of individuals with autism. An IEP is a personalized document developed collaboratively by parents, educators, and professionals. It outlines specific educational goals, accommodations, and support services tailored to the individual's strengths and challenges.

An effective IEP may include specialized instruction, assistive technology, social skills training, and speech therapy. It ensures that the educational environment is adapted to meet the individual's needs, promoting academic progress and overall development.

Building a Supportive Network

Building a supportive network is crucial for individuals with autism and their families. This network can include family members, friends, educators, therapists, and support groups. Having a strong support system provides emotional support, guidance, and resources.

Support groups, both in-person and online, offer opportunities for individuals with autism and their families to connect with others who understand their experiences. These groups provide a platform for sharing information, coping strategies, and navigating challenges together.

In addition to support groups, advocacy organizations and community resources can provide valuable assistance. These organizations often offer educational workshops, access to resources, and opportunities for community involvement.

By focusing on early intervention and therapy, individualized education plans, and building a supportive network, individuals with autism can enhance their quality of life and maximize their potential. It's important to remember that each individual is unique, and interventions should be tailored to their specific needs and strengths.


Autism is a complex disorder that affects individuals differently. It can impact communication, social interaction, and behavior. However, with understanding and support, individuals with autism can lead fulfilling lives. It is important to recognize that individuals with autism are unique and valuable members of our society, and we should do everything we can to support them.