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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Autism Late in Life

A study from the Netherlands:
It is highly likely that ASD is underdiagnosed in older people. The paucity of literature on the subject suggests that lack of awareness of ASD among mental health professionals working with elderly people may be an important factor. Our hypothesis is further substantiated by our three case series, which showed that the diagnosis of ASD was most likely delayed by a lack of knowledge of and attention to the signs of the disorder. An adequate screening for and proper diagnosis of ASD in elderly patients is important for various reasons. A diagnosis of ASD may offer the patient and his/her family/caregivers some relief because it not only explains the current problems, but also puts the “odd” lifelong behavior into perspective. Educating and coaching the patient and his/her family then is an important therapeutic step – and should be extended to the (nursing) staff if patients live in residential care facilities.