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9 - The outcome in adult life for people with ASD

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2009

Patricia Howlin
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry
Fred R. Volkmar
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

Accounts of adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Despite the ever-increasing number of publications on the topic of autism, relatively little has been written about outcome in adulthood. Moreover, the accounts that are available can present a very confusing picture to families seeking to know what may become of their son or daughter as they grow older. On the one hand, the problems shown by adults with ASD often feature prominently in books or papers dealing with “challenging behaviors” (Clements & Zarkowska, 2000). Lurid accounts of crimes committed by individuals with Asperger's syndrome also appear from time to time in daily newspapers. In contrast, there are impressive personal narratives by people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) who have managed to cope admirably with many of the problems they have encountered throughout their lives (see for example autobiographical accounts by Gerland, 1997; Grandin, 1995; Holliday Willey, 1999, Lawson, 2002; Williams, 1992, 1994). There are individual case reports, too, of individuals who, although impaired in many aspects of their functioning, show remarkable skill in certain specific areas, such as art, music, or numerical calculations (Hermelin, 2001).

In fact, most people with ASD fall into none of these categories, but families are provided with very little guidance or information on what the future is likely to hold.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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