Autism In Children Vs Adults; It’s Never Too Late For A Diagnosis

According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 44 children are on the autism spectrum, with boys being 4 times more likely to be affected than girls. Autism is generally detected at 18 months or younger, and by age 2, a diagnosis by a professional can be considered reliable. Recently, though, doctors have begun to recognize that symptoms of autism in adults can be different than those in children, which is why there have been more diagnoses of autism in adults in recent years. So what exactly are the symptoms of autism in children versus those we see in adults?

Autism In Children 

Children with autism tend to show developmental differences when they are babies, especially when it comes to their social and language skills. Some of the common signs of autism in children include:caucasian child with his hands over his ears

  • Not maintaining eye contact, or making little to no eye contact
  • Not using the corresponding facial expressions to their emotions 
  • Difficulty understanding what others might be thinking or feeling by looking at their facial expressions
  • Difficulty showing concern or empathy for others
  • Liking routine, order, and rituals
  • Playing with parts of toys instead of the whole toy
  • Sensitivity to certain smells, sounds, lights, textures, and touch
  • Not pointing or looking where others point or look
  • Engaging in repetitive movements, like rocking, flapping their arms, spinning, and running back and forth
  • Getting upset over minor changes
  • Having an intense interest that borders on obsession  
  • Having exceptional abilities, like musical talent or memory capabilities

The screening for autism is generally done at a child’s 9-month, 18-month, and 30-month checkups. They should also be screened at the 24-month mark. 

Autism In Adults

illustration of a man with his hands over his ears and a head silhouette behind him with question and exclamation points
Difficulty making conversation, thinking, and loud noises are symptoms of autism.

Autism in adults can present differently than it does in children, but some of the signs and symptoms are similar. Common signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adults can include:

  • Difficulty making conversation
  • Challenges with regulating emotions
  • Discomfort during eye contact
  • Hypersensitivity to sounds or smells
  • Difficulty making or maintaining close friendships
  • Difficulty understanding sarcasm
  • Preference for doing activities alone
  • Trouble understanding facial expressions and body language
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Involuntary noises
  • Limited interest in only a few activities
  • Social anxiety
  • The need for daily routines
  • Bumping into things and tripping  
  • Superior abilities in a particular field, such as math

There are tests that can help diagnose autism in adults; if you think you might be on the autism spectrum, there are several tests online you can try, which you can follow with an assessment by a physician. 

An autism diagnosis can help you to understand the reasons you’ve had certain challenges, give your friends and family a better understanding of you, and even open up services and benefits that can help in your daily life.


Treatment for autism varies, but typically therapy can help with any challenges you are facing, particularly the rigid thought patterns you might experience. Treatment can include:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation -This can help you cope with challenges in the workplace, helping you to develop the skills and abilities you need to perform your job in a productive way. 
  • Educational therapy– With this type of therapy, a team of specialists and a variety of activities can help improve social skills, communication, and behavior.
  • Family therapy- Parents and other family members can learn how to play and interact with children, or understand their adult children better.
  • Behavioral therapy- These programs address the range of social and behavioral difficulties associated with autism. They focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills. 
  • Medications– No medication can improve the core signs of autism, but there are specific medications that can help control symptoms. For example, antipsychotic drugs can be used to treat severe behavioral problems, and antidepressants can be used for anxiety. 

Finding Health Coverage

If you suspect that you or your child might be on the autism spectrum, it is important to seek help, so you can learn how to navigate life with ASD. Being insured will give you peace of mind, and the coverage you need to make sure you can see any specialists, and get any therapy you might need. 

If you’re looking for an insurance plan, EZ can help: we offer a wide range of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance companies in every state. And because we work with so many companies and can offer all of the plans available in your area, we can find you a plan that saves you a lot of money – even hundreds of dollars – even if you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There is no obligation, or hassle, just free quotes on all available plans in your area. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-350-1890.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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