Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Farley, M.A., McMahon, W.M., Fombonne, E., Jenson, W.R., Miller, J., Gardner, M., Block, H., Pingree, C.B., Ritvo, E.R., Ritvo, R.A., & Coon, H. (2009). Twenty-year outcome for individuals with autism and average or near-average cognitive abilities. Autism Research, 2 (2), 109-118.
Title:  Twenty-year outcome for individuals with autism and average or near-average cognitive abilities
Authors:  Farley, M.A., McMahon, W.M., Fombonne, E., Jenson, W.R., Miller, J., Gardner, M., Block, H., Pingree, C.B., Ritvo, E.R., Ritvo, R.A., & Coon, H.
Year:  2009
Journal/Publication:  Autism Research
Publisher:  International Society for Autism Research
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.69
Full text:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aur.69/full    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Previous study (20 years ago) found substantial variability in adult outcome for people with autism whose cognitive functioning was within the near-average and average ranges. This study examined adult outcome for 41 such individuals (38 men and 3 women) originally identified through an epidemiological survey of autism in Utah.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study is to : (1) define current function and service needs; (2) explore the feasibility of studying a larger statewide sample; and (3) examine relations among historical and current variables not reported in other recent outcome studies.
Study sample:  41 such individuals (38 men and 3 women) that were originally identified through an epidemiological survey of autism in Utah were recruited for this study.
Data collection and analysis:  Outcome measures included standardized assessments of diagnostic status, cognitive ability, and adaptive behavior. Additional information collected concerned demographic variables, indicators of independence, social relationships, medical and psychiatric conditions, and social service use.Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 16.0. For comparisons of interval-level variables, two-tailed t-tests and ANOVA were used. Spearman’s r tests were used in nonparametric analyses.
Findings:  Compared with previous study, outcomes for this sample were better than outcomes described in previous work on individuals with similar cognitive functioning. For example, half of the participants were rated as ‘‘Very Good’’ or ‘‘Good’’ on a global outcome measure. As in previous studies, there was considerable variability in measured cognitive ability over time. Over half of the sample had large gains or losses of cognitive ability of greater than 1 standard deviation. Cognitive gain was associated with better outcome, as was better adaptive functioning. While all participants had baseline IQs in the nonimpaired range, there was limited evidence to support the use of other early childhood variables to predict adult outcome.
Conclusions:  This study is limited by a number of factors, including the number of participants. This study demonstrates both the feasibility and value of longitudinal autism research. This study encourages further research with the larger sample that was part of the epidemiological survey 20 years ago.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD