Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Few Data Show Effectiveness of Work Interventions for Adults With Autism

Eventually, children with autism grow up to become adults with autism, yet little is known about how they can adapt to functional independence. A group of Vanderbilt University researchers working for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality examined the evidence for effectiveness of vocational interventions in individuals with autism spectrum disorders aged 13 to 30.

Their findings were not encouraging. Only five studies of on-the-job supports met inclusion criteria. All were small and of “poor” quality, meaning that little weight could be given to any reported improvements to quality of life, autism symptoms, or cognitive functioning, wrote lead author Julie Taylor, Ph.D., and colleagues online August 27 in Pediatrics. “Individual studies suggest that vocational programs may increase employment success for some,” they noted. “Research to quantify the degree to which these interventions are effective, under what specific circumstances, and for which individuals with [autism spectrum disorders] is critical for the growing number of adolescents and young adults with [these disorders] who are approaching the transition to adulthood.”

To read more about research in autism treatment, see Psychiatric News  here and here.

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