Autism after Adolescence: Population-based 13- to 22-year Follow-up Study of 120 Individuals with Autism Diagnosed in Childhood

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Queen Silvia's Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Göteborg, Sweden.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 07/2005; 35(3):351-60. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-005-3302-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prospective population-based follow-up study of 120 individuals with autism followed from childhood to adulthood.
Individuals with autism, diagnosed in childhood, were followed prospectively for a period of 13-22 years and re-evaluated at ages 17-40 years. The instruments used at follow-up were the DISCO, WAIS-R, WISC-III, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, psychiatric-medical examination and GAF-scale. A set of criteria was used for the classification of outcomes, taking into consideration employment, higher education/vocational training, independent living and peer relations.
Six of the 120 (5%) had died at the time of follow-up, and six declined participation. Overall outcome was poor in 78% of cases. Only four individuals were independent albeit leading fairly isolated lives. Childhood IQ-level was positively correlated with better adult outcome, as was the existence of some communicative phrase speech at age six years.
Children with autism as diagnosed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s may have an even worse psychosocial outcome than previously believed.

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