Study shows societal inclusion improves life satisfaction

27 Sep

I know a lot of people will read the title of this post and say, “that’s obvious”. But keep in mind–studies give people a chance to advocate better. Now for the limitations–the study was only on individuals who did not have difficulties in areas of daily living skills. And, yes, the study population did not have intellectual disability.

But with all that, here’s the sentence I’ll highlight from the abstract: “Participating in society was identified as the only factor predicting life satisfaction in individuals with ASD.”

Here is the pubmed link
Psychosocial Functioning and Life Satisfaction in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder Without Intellectual Impairment.

and here is the abstract:

This study aimed at (a) comparing psychosocial functioning and life satisfaction in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and nonclinical participants and (b) identifying areas of functioning that are most predictive for life satisfaction in individuals with ASD.
A total of 43 adults with ASD without intellectual impairment (age: mean = 31, standard deviation = 10 years; 63% females) and healthy nonclinical individuals (N = 44) were surveyed.
Individuals with ASD reported significant functional impairments and less life satisfaction compared with nonclinical individuals in many areas of life. Although impairments were prominent in domains involving interaction with other people such as understanding and communication, getting along with others, and participation in society, daily living skills (e.g., getting around, self-care, and household) were not different from nonclinical participants. Participating in society was identified as the only factor predicting life satisfaction in individuals with ASD.
There is a need for interventions facilitating functioning on a broad level and support toward societal inclusion for individuals with ASD.

By Matt Carey

13 Responses to “Study shows societal inclusion improves life satisfaction”

  1. wzrd1 September 27, 2015 at 04:36 #

    I see the study and three words come to mind.
    Small sample size.
    It would be preferably for the study to have ten times, at a minimum, before an initial impression could be gathered.
    A wider age grouping would also be beneficial for such a study, for one can create curves for age groupings, when interventions became common, etc.

  2. Jonathan September 27, 2015 at 17:17 #

    interesting when studies have shown 90% of higher functioning autistics are males, it would seem that only you would think a study using 63% of females would be representative of anything credible.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 27, 2015 at 20:24 #

      Yeah. Who cares what female autistics think? That’s what you are saying when you say “representative of anything credible”. (emphasis added)

  3. joan October 16, 2015 at 15:23 #

    Inclusion for all. But high functioning is not a disability but a difference. Isn’t that so? What about those with autism so severe that it interferes with the desire to learn? The ability to speak? They are in the minority but what about their satisfaction? What about a meaningful life for them? They are closing down sheltered workshops and autism communities in the name of inclusion. Please watch the documentary “the Best Kept Secret” to see the reality of some forms of autisms. Also read some of the comments concerning the closing of workshops also the article and comments Who is to speak for those who can not communicate? Their lives are worthwhile. Instead of talking about the tired vaccine arguments all the time (like beating a dead horse) please help focus on the young people who are growing up and will need a little help to live a full life as independently as possible.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 16, 2015 at 17:38 #

      I don’t use the term high functioning. I also don’t downplay the disability faced by autistics who have different challenges than, say my own child.

      The vaccine debate costs us in many ways. For one it is the gateway to a very destructive approach taken by many parents.
      For another way, it focuses a lot of advocacy efforts into counterproductive areas. Consider the recent California legislative battle. Instead of helping us get services restored, the parents focused on vaccine causation were fighting a vaccine bill.

      Countering the vaccine idea is very much worthwhile.

      As to the minimally verbal autistic population, I pushed for more focus on this group in my tenure in the iacc. That includes getting a day devoted to the topic in our meetings.

      The reality is that one should not downplay the challenges of one group by claiming they are “high functioning” and only different.

      Disability is a difference. Stating “not a disability but a difference” is incorrect.

      • joan October 16, 2015 at 19:40 #

        I agree that arguing about vaccines is counterproductive. It doesn’t help the children who are growing to adulthood with autism. Why do parents insist on blaming vaccines when their children need services right now? The services to live their lives to the best of their abilities. I don’t like the term “low” or “high” functioning either. I agree with The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism about inclusion and acceptance but it also states that autism is a naturally occurring human neurological variation and not a disease process to be cured. I also have a question about the difference between severe non verbal autism and intellectual disability. It is a little confusing because when our young man says no, he means no and yes when he means yes. He seeks our company but mostly he is interested in the computer. He loves to go to the movies but doesn’t watch tv. He loves Special Olympics swimming and the young people he hangs out with there but he doesn’t seem to understand or care about competition. He loves parties and vacations (mostly the ocean and snorkeling). He works at the cafeteria at school and at workshops putting things together and sorting. But, recently the MRDD sent him to work at a clothing store without a job coach and without proper guidance in place so he got frustrated and pulled the managers hair. He never ever does this and is very respectful so his school is teaching him now to say “I don’t understand.” This is why I am so worried about his future. If they close down workshops and autism communities where he can live safely. Will he live on the streets or section 8 housing? Will he have no job or recreation to look forward to? That is why I get angry about all the discussions about vaccines.

  4. joan October 17, 2015 at 20:36 #

    There was a day devoted to minimally verbal autism at the iacc meeting? Really? Your quote: “The fact of the matter is that intellectual disability, especially those unable to read, write and/or speak, is a small segment of the autistic population. And as we learn more about autism, this fraction is an ever shrinking percentage of the identified autism population.” It is no wonder since classic autism and aspergers are now called autism. Until there is a blood test or a genetic test these two separate conditions will be recognized by their common behaviors. A comment supposedly from a person with “autism” who could read and write and blog was “If you take away the autism from a severely non verbal autistic person all that is left is mental retardation.” So what is the difference between autism and id? A person with intellectual disability develops and performs slower than his peers but he gains skills at an even pace. A person with autism’s progress may not be so clear cut. The autistic person may make progress in some areas easily but has difficulties with skills, such as language, communication and social interaction. (If you isolate yourself and you only learn what you are interested in and you only hear what you are interested in. If most language is just babble because of sensory issues and all you are comfortable with is sameness and If from birth you can’t even look into your own mother’s eyes or feel the comfort of her voice or the feel of her touch then you might blame the severity of your autism for having intellectual disability.
    Intellectual disability may present speech and vocabulary challenges but not to the same degree as a case of severe autism, which can render someone nonverbal.
    A person with autism may experience mindblindness or appear to lack empathy for others because of problems understanding the emotions and emotional responses of others. Mindblindness is not as common in mental retardation. (my thought is that they do have empathy but don’t know how to show it. I have examples but not now) The point is please spend more than a day discussing non verbal autism, Thank you

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 18, 2015 at 19:44 #

      Some people seem to take the approach that we have to advocate on the grounds of who is the majority of the autism population. Not only does this avoid the basic idea that autism (and the disabled in general) are a minority, but it also fails when we try to apply this to the intellectually disabled.

      People who check the data know that the majority of autistics are not intellectually disabled. And the trends are just making the gap greater. So if we argue that the majority should get the most attention, we (those advocating for autistics with intellectual disability) will lose.

      One US survey I recall put the nonverbal fraction at about 5%. If I recall correctly, the study performed in Puerto Rico put the fraction at about 10%. It’s sizable, but a minority.

      On top of nonverbal we have minimally verbal. And–this gets left out a lot–non conversational. One can have a lot of words but be unable to participate in a standard back and forth conversation.

      • joan October 18, 2015 at 23:29 #

        What I am trying to say is that I want inclusion for all but will it come back to bite the 5% who would be lost? What will become of them when they age out of the system? I tried to illustrate by mentioning the documentary and show that a non verbal/ minimally verbal in spite of their “intellectual disability” can contribute. Please Mr. Carey don’t just cater to the majority. Please mention in your blogs the silent 5 % who will never have a say in how they live. Mahatma Gandhi is reported to have said, “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.”

        And, of course, my favorite quote:

        “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love” — Martin Luther King

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 19, 2015 at 17:51 #

        Frankly, I am tired of catering to your straw man arguments. I have and do advocate for all. Clearly. You can’t even take the time to confirm the fact that IACC devoted a day to minimally verbal autism.

        Please, don’t cater to the straw man. Please form well founded arguments. Because when people make clearly false arguments, basically passive aggressive attacks, as you are doing, it is very obvious. And when you do in advocating in public, it sets us back.

        “the system” is not just education. “the system” is not one “ages out of”. Which is to say, when one advocates for inclusion, one is advocating for everyone. Children, adolescents and adults. Why do you ignore that?

        I ask the last rhetorically because you are done here.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) October 20, 2015 at 00:43 #

        “Please mention in your blogs the silent 5 % who will never have a say in how they live”

        There is so much wrong with that. Not just the fact that I do, in fact, advocate for all autistics. Nonverbal, minimally verbal, nonconversational as well as verbal/conversational.

        Let’s start with “never”. I don’t accept that. Which is why I advocate for a change in society. A change to accept those with disability as full members.

        Let’s next consider the point that nonverbal is not noncommunicative. If supposed advocates for autistics can’t understand that, how can we move to get society as whole to accept it? It is incumbent on us to understand the communication that is provided. It’s a paradigm shift, but a logical one. Supposedly we are the ones for whom this would be easy–we are not disabled. But we assume that someone who is nonverbal must be the one to break the communication barrier. How does that make sense?

        I fully believe and live what Mr. King said. I have stated multiple times that my child has accomplished more in a few short years than I ever have or ever will. We who are not disabled ride on our talent. There’s no accomplishment to that. Overcoming the challenges, any challenges, posed by disability? That’s an accomplishment.

  5. strawman February 5, 2016 at 16:35 #

    Psychosocial Functioning and Life Satisfaction in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder Without Intellectual impairment. This is a good study but have there been studies for life satisfaction for the intellectually impaired? I have only found the 2008 post titled Vocational Rehabilitation and Autistic Adults on this website. From the comments above they are closing sheltered workshops. Does anyone know what there will be to replace sheltered workshops? Even for those who have Autism with ID there is a need to have pride in accomplishments and life satisfaction not to mention inclusion in the community. I don’t mean workshops where they all sit in a dreary crowded room like a sweatshop. I agree with Dr Carey that we need a change in society to accept those with disabilities as full members.

  6. strawman February 5, 2016 at 19:08 #

    I have been reading about the MMS and have no doubt about the harm it can do not to mention abuse and indignity of it. It is a popular discussion along with vaccines. What are the priorities for children with autism? A good life, good parenting skills, good education, opportunities, proper nutrition and inclusion are just some of the things that are very important. Susan Senator, “Another thought: it is amazing, wonderful, and right that the institutions are closed/closing. BUT it is horrible that we still do not have really good solutions for inclusion.” And Allison Singer’s stance on funding for vaccine research. There is only so much money to go around. Actually, lbrb does what it can to reveal the vaccine hoax and the many gullible parents who will not let it die. I may have been misled or insulting and for that I am truly sorry. I may use strawman arguments and am passive aggressive but I did not mean to be. So, Dr Carey I do apologize.

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