Home > Science > What Happens to Kids with Autism When They Grow Up?

What Happens to Kids with Autism When They Grow Up?

What happens to autistic kids when they grow up? Does a kid with substantial verbal impairment have a decent shot at growing up to have a family or a job? Does quality of life get better, worse, or stay the same? What kinds of support or services do middle aged people with autism need? What do they get? Are they happy?

John Elder Robison, an author who has autism and serve on Autism Speaks’ Scientific and Treatment Advisory Boards, recently blogged about an ambitious study, headed up by psychiatrist William McMahon of the University of Utah, which attempts to find answers to these questions.

Read more and comment on John’s post here.

  1. May 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    We need to hear more from autistic adults who are extraordinarily able to speak for themselves, and less from those who would benefit from “helping”. Woman’s Suffrage didn’t move forward because of men, but because women found THEIR voices…jus’ sayin…

    Good luck John, hope to hear lots more from you!!!

  2. Dadvocate
    May 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

    My initial impression is that this study, highlighted by John Elder Robison on his fine blog, appears very limited and perhaps suffers from fuzzy design from the get go. However, I will look into it further.

    My experience tells me that even if 10% of the ASD population migrates from the position of a being “very impaired” (or misdiagnosed) to “pretty successful adults”, it’s not time to break out the party hats. Quite the contrary.

    Subtypes don’t need discovering by Dr. McMahon, they are already fairly well understood by experts (but do need more refinement on a biological, rather than psychiatric, basis). Dr. McMahon ought to, if he hasn’t already, bring some leading neurologists and GI experts onto his team if he wants to do more than tell us what we already know. If he has, terrific.

    Call me skeptical, but I think John’s obvious enthusiasm, though perhaps appropriate for some with the Asperger’s subtype, is overly optimistic.

  3. May 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for highlighting and linking this information. I hope there are more empirical studies conducted soon.

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