In a study from the University of Portsmouth, scientists found people who learn they are autistic when they are younger may have a heightened quality of life and sense of well-being in adulthood.
The team also found that those who learned of their autism as adults reported more positive emotions (especially relief) about autism when first learning they were autistic.
These findings suggest that telling a child that they are autistic at a younger age empowers them by providing access to support and a foundation for self-understanding that helps them thrive later in life.
In the study, researchers directly examine whether learning if one is autistic at a younger age is associated with better adult outcomes.
Many autistic people—particularly females, ethnic/racial minorities and people with limited resources—are diagnosed years after the characteristics are first noticed.
In many cases, autistic people do not receive their diagnosis until adulthood.
The study was carried out by a team of autistic and non-autistic students and academic researchers.
Seventy-eight autistic university students were surveyed, sharing how they found out they were autistic and how they felt about their diagnosis.
Respondents also revealed how they felt about their lives and being autistic now.
The study suggests that parents should not wait for children to become adults to tell them they are autistic.
No participants recommended doing so, although most highlighted factors to consider when informing a child of their autism, include developmental level, support needs, curiosity, and personality.
Findings also suggest that parents should tell their children they are autistic in ways that help them understand and feel good about who they are.
If you care about autism, please read about studies about a new cause of autism, and cats may help decrease anxiety for kids with autism.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about vitamin D that may hold the clue to more autism, and results showing vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.
The study was conducted by Dr. Steven Kapp et al and published in Autism.
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