Clues to success for adults with autism are emerging as more people who were diagnosed on the spectrum approach adult age.
According to the findings of a new study, the biggest predictor of adult success is the ability for adults on the autism spectrum to do everyday, self care activities such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning. These abilities are a greater predictor of success than intellectual functioning and symptom severity.
The researchers examined the experiences of 152 people who were diagnosed between 1970 and 1999 at the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program. The subjects are now adults with an average age of 35. Researchers surveyed their caregivers about their current lives.
44 percent of the adults with autism live with their family. The study found that 55 percent are unemployed. Those who had the highest self care skills were most likely to keep a job, work more hours, and needed less support on the job. Those who had the least ability for self care had the most difficulty keeping a job. While empahsis has been on social communication skills, researchers said the approach may change to prepare people on the spectrum for their adult years.