Learning about Autism and SSD During Autism Awareness Month
Considering that 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with autism, it’s likely that you have a friend, family member, classmate, or coworker who lives with this disorder. If you have a loved one with autism or have it yourself, you know that it takes many forms and ranges in severity. But did you also know that it may qualify for Social Security Disability?
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects behavior, communication, and social skills. It is generally present from childhood, typically evident around the age of three. It’s generally thought that males are more than five times more likely than females to develop autism. However, girls are far less likely than boys to be correctly diagnosed, due to the notion that autism predominantly affects boys. There is no cure, with the symptoms often affecting the person throughout their life.
As the name implies, autism is a spectrum, or a group of similar disorders that range in severity. The spectrum mainly refers to autism disorder itself and Asperger’s syndrome, but also includes other non-specified behavioral disorders. The impact that a disorder has on an individual’s behavior and lifestyle depends on the type and severity. But overall, some common symptoms include:
- Repetitive behavior
- Poor communication skills
- Inappropriate social interactions
- Limited interests
- Difficulty understanding from another person’s perspective
- Difficulty with making or maintaining eye contact
- Delay in learning to speak
- A need for sameness and routine
While many people with autism have successful and fulfilling lives, symptoms such as these can impede their ability to form relationships, find work, and do daily tasks. Many people thrive with therapy, medication, or other forms of treatment and management, while others may experience a severe disability.
Qualifying for SSD
When someone’ symptoms are severe enough to affect their ability to work, they may qualify for SSD. For autism to qualify someone for SSD, it must greatly limit their abilities in areas such as:
- Understanding, remembering, or using information
- Interaction with others
- Focusing on activities
- Adapting or managing
For example, someone might be unable to work because of an inability to work with a team, manage several complicated projects, or easily switch between tasks.
Autism is unique because it develops during early childhood. This means that children and young adults who have never worked may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). For a child to qualify for SSDI, their family’s income and assets are considered along with their symptoms. When a child’s disability is so severe that it would affect their future ability to have a job, this can be very helpful.
For people with autism spectrum disorders, everyday life can be a challenge—but not impossible. With the potential support of SSD and SSDI benefits, along with increased awareness from things such as Autism Awareness Month, there are many resources to help them lead their very best lives.
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