Thank you to Sonia Agarwal, smart, efficient and eloquent ASF summer intern for putting together a summary of resources and services and rights for adolescents and young adults with autism, focusing on those who are not intellectually disabled. They include resources for transitioning into college and support programs at college, with tips and hints along the way. Sonia has a younger brother with autism and is committed to helping families access the help they need.
Two studies from Sweden came out this week with the same idea: study autism across time, and focus on other things besides just autism. This podcast reviews both. The first examined quality of life in adults over the course of 20 years and the other followed preschoolers into school age. The results are consistent. That is, people with autism have high levels of psychiatric comorbidities which depended on a number of factors. Of particular importance is the role of intellectual functioning on outcome. These recent data are further evidence that while people with autism share struggles, those with ID may need to be considered differently in clinical care, housing, employment, and obviously intervention.
Studies of very early signs of autism, even before an official diagnosis can be made, has led to better recognition of early signs and driven earlier and earlier interventions. These interventions have improved the lives of people with autism. The biological signs like brain activity, structure and genetics could further improve early intervention paradigms that look at biomarkers rather than just behavioral features. Studies of these early signs are best looked at through symptoms in younger siblings of those with a diagnosis, who have a 20x higher risk of ASD compared to those who do not. To move to even more high impact discoveries, researchers need more families to participate. But what do families really think of this type of research? Adults and parents agree on the value of understanding the early signs of autism, but not always about what to call it. This week’s podcast explains.