Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Barnhill, G.P. (2007). Outcomes in adults with Asperger syndrome. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, 22 (2), 116-126.
Title:  Outcomes in adults with Asperger syndrome
Authors:  Barnhill, G.P.
Year:  2007
Journal/Publication:  Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Many individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) remain undiagnosed well into adulthood, they do not receive services to assist with deficit areas. Because of the relatively recent recognition of AS,there is a dearth of longitudinal outcome studies on adults with AS.
Purpose:  The purpose of this article is to review the literature on adult outcomes of individuals with AS and makes recommendations for interventions and future research. The specific areas that are covered in this article including: employment issues, comorbid mental and physical health conditions, neurological issues, possible problems with the legal system, and mortality rates.
Findings:  The finding of this article indicates that individuals with AS have difficulties in finding a vocational niches, securing jobs that are commensurate with their abilities, maintaining jobs, and negotiating social relationships. The finding also suggests that AS usually appears with comorbidity, behavioral and symptoms such as attention-deficit that were thought to be additional features of ASD(autism spectrum disorder) can now be considered as features of coexisting neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, young adults with AS were not satisfied with their physical health in areas such as discomfort and pain; many individuals with AS experience sensory challenges that others are not aware of; challenges with motor skills are prevalent in individuals with AS; sleep disturbance patterns are found in adolescents and young adults with AS but it is unclear that whether insomnia is due to AS itself. Furthermore, social impairment causes great difficulties for adults with AS. The lack of sex education confounds problems in establishing relationships with others. The findings also there is little documentation of excess of crimes among people with AS, despite media descriptions suggesting otherwise. Furthermore, the higher rates of mortality among individuals with ASD could be a result of severe mental intellectual disability and other complications, such as epilepsy. The findings also indicated that the behavioral and pharmacological interventions do not have effects on underlying impairments of AS or autism, they only treat the symptoms. Education-based treatment plans are often focus on turning eccentricities into strengths and on direct teaching of information and social skills.
Conclusions:  In order to improv outcomes of adults with AS, it is important to increase public awareness of the condition so that diagnoses can be rendered earlier and suitable supports can be provided. Educational opportunities and assistance in securing and maintaining employment are critical to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to be successful in adulthood.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Developmental disabilities
Populations served:  Adjudicated adults and youth