Twenty-year outcome for individuals with autism and average or near-average cognitive abilities. Autism Research, 2(2), 109-118

Utah Autism Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah, 650 Komas Dr., Ste. 206, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.
Autism Research (Impact Factor: 4.33). 04/2009; 2(2):109-18. DOI: 10.1002/aur.69
Source: PubMed


Previous studies found substantial variability in adult outcome for people with autism whose cognitive functioning was within the near-average and average ranges. This study examined adult outcome for 41 such individuals (38 men and 3 women) originally identified through an epidemiological survey of autism in Utah. Mean age at the time of their previous cognitive assessment was 7.2 years (SD=4.1, range=3.1-25.9 years) and at follow-up was 32.5 years (SD=5.7 years, range=22.3-46.4 years). Outcome measures included standardized assessments of diagnostic status, cognitive ability, and adaptive behavior. Additional information collected concerned demographic variables, indicators of independence, social relationships, medical and psychiatric conditions, and social service use. Outcomes for this sample were better than outcomes described in previous work on individuals with similar cognitive functioning. For example, half of the participants were rated as "Very Good" or "Good" on a global outcome measure. As in previous studies, there was considerable variability in measured cognitive ability over time. Over half of the sample had large gains or losses of cognitive ability of greater than 1 standard deviation. Cognitive gain was associated with better outcome, as was better adaptive functioning. While all participants had baseline IQs in the nonimpaired range, there was limited evidence to support the use of other early childhood variables to predict adult outcome.

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    • "Core difficulties of ASD generally persist into adulthood (Seltzer et al. 2003; Shattuck et al. 2007; Taylor and Seltzer 2010), and the majority of individuals with ASD will require varying levels of life-long supports (Hus and Lord 2014). Even for those without ID, ASD often has negative impacts on learning and independence in adulthood (Farley et al. 2009; Howlin 2013; Pugliese et al. 2015). Thus, it is important to understand ASD symptoms in adults with ASD without ID in order for accurate diagnosis and subsequent supports to promote positive outcomes (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee 2011). "
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    • "Adaptive behavior is a term used to indicate a person's ability to function independently in his or her environment. Given that independent living status is more dependent on adaptive behavior than cognitive ability or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptomatology (Farley et al. 2009; Kanne et al. 2011) understanding the development of adaptive skills, as well as factors that contribute them, is critical to helping youth with ASD achieve optimal outcomes. Many of the findings on adaptive behavior related to autism have stemmed from studies utilizing heterogeneous samples, with far fewer studies focusing on individuals with ASD without ID (Lopata et al. 2013). "
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    • "Increased rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome, and attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder have also been found in individuals on the spectrum (Eaves & Ho, 2008; Farley et al., 2009; Kobayashi et al., 1992). "
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