Services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder

7 May

Paul Shattuck is one of those people I greatly admire. He and his group ask important questions in areas which are generally given low levels of attention. Regular readers to Left Brain/Right Brain will (I hope) recognize that improving the research base for knowledge about autistic adults is a high priority of mine. I can’t say as I was exactly pleased to see the abstract below, as it points out the lack of knowledge that we have. But I was pleased to see this topic highlighted. The study (which I have not seen in full yet) is Services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder.

The need for useful evidence about services is increasing as larger numbers of children identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) age toward adulthood. The objective of this review was to characterize the topical and methodological aspects of research on services for supporting success in work, education, and social participation among adults with an ASD and to propose recommendations for moving this area of research forward. We reviewed the literature published in English from 2000 to 2010 and found that the evidence base about services for adults with an ASD is underdeveloped and can be considered a field of inquiry that is relatively unformed. Extant research does not reflect the demographic or impairment heterogeneity of the population, the range of services that adults with autism require to function with purposeful lives in the community, and the need for coordination across service systems and sectors. Future studies must examine issues related to cost and efficiency, given the broader sociopolitical and economic context of service provision. Further, future research needs to consider how demographic and impairment heterogeneity have implications for building an evidence base that will have greater external validity.

It is amazing that after a decade of intense focus on autism research, we know so little. I greatly appreciate Prof. Shattuck’s team taking the time to review the literature. It’s time to put some major effort into filling in these knowledge gaps.

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2 Responses to “Services for adults with an autism spectrum disorder”

  1. Kids Toolbox May 8, 2012 at 02:09 #

    Prof. Shattuck is doing a great service by highlighting this challenge.

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