Outcomes for Individuals with ASD
The daily struggles and annual targets of learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are working toward a single ultimate outcome – to achieve an optimal level of independence, integration, and happiness in adulthood. The reality is that many individuals are not achieving the best possible outcomes. Adults with ASD are disadvantaged with regard to both objective and subjective indicators of quality of life when compared to adults with other mental health diagnoses (Barneveld et al. 2014).
The Life Course Outcomes Research Program (fact sheet, link to website) reports some outcomes for individuals with ASD (Roux et al., 2017). Young adults with ASD have the lowest employment rate compared to other disabilities (58% of individuals with ASD who have ever worked). In addition, individuals with the highest level of conversation skills were more likely to have worked in their early twenties than individuals in the lowest conversation skills grouping (90% and 15%, respectively).
There are certainly factors outside the control of a behavior analysts that contribute to poor outcomes, not the least of which is available funding and other variables affecting access to adult programs. A variable that behavior analyst may control is the application of recent research to programs across the lifespan to prepare learners for the complexities and uncertainties of the social world across all contexts of adult life.