In my last post, I talked about my recent language difficulties and mentioned autistic regression. Sometimes called autistic burnout, autistic regression is a loss of skills or coping mechanisms.
Regression can refer to a specific set of skills or abilities:
progressively losing the ability to speak
deteriorating executive function
reduced memory capacity
loss of self-care capabilities
loss of social skills
reduced ability to tolerate sensory or social overload
It can also refer to a general loss of the ability to cope with life or to accomplish all of the necessary daily tasks of living.
Sometimes the loss is temporary–a period of a few weeks or months–after which a person regains the lost abilities. Other times the deterioration in skills or coping mechanisms takes place over years. It may be come permanent or semi-permanent, with skills being regained but not to the level at which they previously existed.
Often a period of autistic regression begins during or after puberty or during the transition to adulthood (late teens to early twenties). Mid-life is also a common time for autistic people to experience burnout or regression. In fact, many people (including me) list a noticeable change in their ability to cope with daily life as one of the reasons for seeking a diagnosis. However, autistic regression can happen at any age and is often preceded by a major life change or a period of increased stress. Continue reading Autistic Regression and Fluid Adaptation