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Double Retired
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14 Feb 2024, 8:14 pm

"At 17, she found out she was autistic. It's a story that's becoming more common. Here's why."

Quote:
Journey Early, who recently appeared on Season 2 of "Love on the Spectrum," has always felt two steps behind her peers — and not just romantically. She didn’t show as many facial expressions and started talking later than the average toddler. As a teen, Early would hide her stuffed animals when friends visited and lie about her interests just to fit in.

“I would go home and cry because I couldn’t figure out why I was so uncomfortable with being myself,” Early said. “I learned that I couldn’t make friends by being me, so I made friends by pretending to be someone else.”

None of it made sense until the day after her 17th birthday when she finally got a diagnosis: autism, a developmental condition that can affect how people communicate, learn and behave.

“I was jumping with joy,” she said. “It explained everything.”

Although autism is typically diagnosed at about age 5, a growing number of people are receiving their diagnosis at later ages. For some, like Early, fear of the stigmas associated with an autism diagnosis contribute to a delay in care; she quietly studied the condition and how it presents in girls for two years before asking her parents for a formal evaluation.

But for many others, an evaluation wasn’t or isn’t on the table. Autism wasn’t officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until 1980, and in 2013 its definition changed, leaving some teens and adults misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Gender and racial bias, as well as unequal access to health care, also continue to play a role in later diagnoses.


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I finally knew why people were strange.


autisticelders
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16 Feb 2024, 8:44 am

lucky for her she found out so young! Hoping professionals are able to spot the older adults who have struggled with autism unknowingly for decades too.


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MatchboxVagabond
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16 Feb 2024, 9:12 am

autisticelders wrote:
lucky for her she found out so young! Hoping professionals are able to spot the older adults who have struggled with autism unknowingly for decades too.

Yep, I'm not sure there really is a best age, but until things get a lot better 17-25 or so is probably a pretty good age.