Into the Unknown: Aging with Autism Spectrum Disorders
older adults; health; quality of life; age-related changes; autism
Research investigation of older adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) noticeably lags behind studies of children and younger adults with ASD. This article reviews the current literature regarding a range of quality of life outcomes of aging adults with ASD. Studies that have addressed life expectancy, comorbid physical and mental health issues, ASD symptomatology, and social, residential, and vocational outcomes are reviewed. Research challenges in identifying older cohorts of adults with ASD are also discussed, and notable areas of concern are highlighted. Overall, aging with ASD does present challenges, but there is also evidence that positive outcomes are attainable. The article concludes with brief recommendations on how to optimize the aging process for individuals with ASD.
Elizabeth A. Perkins and Karen A. Berkman (2012) Into the Unknown: Aging with Autism Spectrum Disorders. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: November 2012, Vol. 117, No. 6, pp. 478-496.