A wide range of social functioning, employment rates and self-reported independence levels were reported in a cohort of adults with autism spectrum disorder.
The researchers investigated social function, employment, independent living and use of social services among 169 individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Cognitive abilities, as assessed by IQ score, were in the disabled range of 70 or below in 77% of the cohort. The median cognitive ability score for the full cohort was below 50, according to the results.
One-fifth of the cohort reported the highest outcomes for independence, while 46% of participants required high levels of support in most of the life areas being evaluated. Social functioning data indicated that 10% of participants were very independent, while another 10% were independent, 34% were fair, 41% were limited, and 5% were very limited.
Among 38 participants with full- or part-time jobs, 10 had cognitive abilities below the threshold of 70, according to the findings. Twenty-percent of the cohort were completely unemployed when data were collected, while 16 participants had neither been employed or involved in a structured adult program of any kind. Fourteen participants reported as many as nine jobs and difficulty maintaining employment.
Five percent of the cohort reported current or previous marriage, while 75% reported no experience with dating and 13% had only experienced dating in a group setting. Another 5% reported dating in a single couple situation, and 6% had dated in both types of arrangements.
Among 154 participants with residential information available, the average number of residence over a lifetime was 2.7 (SD = 2.2). Among nine participants living independently, cognitive assessment showed an average IQ of 107 (SD = 28.3).
Other findings showed that 65% of the cohort required long-term supports and services.
“Participant subgroups who achieved maximal outcomes represented a range of social and intellectual abilities for several outcome metrics,” the researchers wrote. “Participants used high levels of public and private supports, yet specific areas of clear, unmet need were also identified.” – by Rob Volansky
: Bilder and McMahon report serving as consultants to BioMarin. McMahon also reports holding a patent with Lineagen.