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School Leavers with Autism – a longitudinal study

School Leavers with Autism – a longitudinal study

By Ms Radhika Tanksale, Clinical Psychologist

Leaving school is a big change in an adolescence’s life, with many avenues and options often needing to be explored and considered. Given the common executive function difficulties that arise in some individuals on the autism spectrum (e.g., preparing, planning, organising, goal setting, decision-making, and self-initiation), this period in life can be particularly challenging. Given these difficulties, exploring and understanding the difference between young adults on the autism spectrum and their neurotypical counterparts is likely to provide information regarding which areas of executive dysfunction may require attention and what kind of support would assist individuals on the autism spectrum when leaving school.

In a recent e-news bulletin The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC, an organisation that focuses on cooperative research in autism), released a findings snapshot of their 2014 to 2021 study. This interesting longitudinal study surveyed the transition between adolescence and adulthood in young people with and without autism, between 15 to 25 years of age over a 2-year period. The snapshot highlighted the following information:

– Age when an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis was provided;
– Both positive and challenging school experiences;
– Bullying history and experiences;
– Post high school study and/or employment experiences; and
– Comorbid diagnoses including depression, sleep issues, anxiety, ADHD, speech and language impairment, allergies, and asthma.

For a more detailed look at their current findings and further information, please click here.


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