ARI Webinars on Adulthood and Aging with Autism
Aging and Autism – Autism Research Institute
In this webinar, Wenn Lawson, Ph.D., dives into aging and the autism spectrum. Speaking from personal and professional experiences, he discusses memory, movement, sensory profiling, language, and autonomy as they pertain to adults with autism. The presenter details differences in aging compared to the non-autistic population and highlights the need for universal accommodations within communities and homes. Lawson underscores the usefulness of technology in socializing and provides suggestions on how to accommodate aging with autism in daily life.
Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults – Autism Research Institute
Learn about emerging research on the comparative effectiveness of CET versus EST for improving cognitive and behavioral outcomes, to examine the impact of CET on underlying neural mechanisms of cognitive enhancement, and to identify personal and neurobiological moderators of treatment response. Presented by Shaun Eack, PhD.
Diets for Adults with ASD – Autism Research Institute
Ms. Erika Laurion, M.S., C.S., dives into the necessary nutrient intake and corresponding diets for adults with autism and other developmental diseases. She discusses the historical context of diet in the U.S. and how it led to the increased prevalence of diseases like metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Laurion details the three essential food categories and their nutritional values and emphasizes the importance of exercise. The speaker explores the lack of affordable and well-managed group homes and presents alternative economic diets for treating and preventing metabolic syndrome and other diseases.
Self-Advocacy: A Panel of Adults with ASD – Autism Research Institute
Valerie Paradiz, Ph.D., Chloe Rothschild, and Jeremy Sicile-Kira co-present on the importance of developing sensory and social self-advocacy abilities. Using the Integrated Self-Advocacy (ISA) Curriculum, they detail personal experiences in developing self-advocacy abilities. They speak about the importance of community and support and provide real-world examples of self-advocacy at home, work, and school. This panel was part of the Fall 2012 Autism Research Institute Conference.
Transition to Adulthood – Providing Support – Autism Research Institute
In this webinar, Amy Moore Gaffney, M.A., CCC-SLP, discusses evidence-based support strategies for adults with autism as they transition to adulthood and gain independence. She focuses on structured visual support strategies and emphasizes the need for generalized support systems across contexts and environments. Gaffney describes three structured methods that support communication and executive function skill sets in autistic adults. She provides an action plan template, highlights the need for community and employer involvement, and emphasizes the importance of a balanced schedule. The speaker supplies resources and user-friendly ways for creating support before closing with a question and answer session.
Transition to Adulthood – Autism Research Institute
Stephen Shore, Ed.D., recounts his experiences with autism and discusses the support systems that helped him transition to adulthood and independence. He describes the ability-based approach and uses anecdotal stories to portray its potential for assisting with transitions and overall quality of life. Shore presents suggestions to help individuals find what and how to disclose and underscores the importance of finding strengths by looking at personal interests. The speaker notes difficulties in sexual experiences and education for youth with autism and reiterates the importance of self-advocacy, especially during and after the pandemic. He closes with a question-and-answer session.
Reflections on Adulthood – Panel – Autism Research Institute
In this recorded panel, adults and older youth with autism share their experiences and reflections on transition moments in their lives. Campbell Teague, Chloe Rothschild, Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Sondra Williams, and Paul Nussbaum introduce themselves and answer questions from presenter Valerie Paradiz, Ph.D., and the audience. This panel was part of the Fall 2012 Autism Research Institute Conference.
Challenges of Medical Care for Seniors – Autism Research Institute
Learn about the many challenges faced by those aging with autism. This includes diagnosis in adult and senior years; preventative screenings, such as prostate as well as breast and cervical cancer; and medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. Dr. Bauman will also discuss many of the limitations when seeking medical guidance, including the shortage of knowledgeable medical care providers, time constraints during examination, and low government and health insurance reimbursement.
Presented by Margaret Bauman, MD. This is a joint presentation by ARI and The World Autism Organisation
Articles About Adulthood and Aging with Autism
Report from a Think Tank on Aging and Autism Published
In 2017, Autism Canada, The Pacific Autism Family Network, and ARI facilitated a think tank on ASD in adulthood and later life in Vancouver, BC. Meetings focused on collaboration around common priorities to advance research, knowledge, and solutions for issues related to autism in middle adulthood and beyond. A summary of this international meeting was published in May 2020, in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
Aging in Autism: A Call to Action – Autism Research Institute
Twenty years ago there was much talk but little action about the inevitable onslaught of children and teenagers on the autism spectrum reaching adulthood. Whether it was hesitation or procrastination, private and public agencies delayed planning, and the autism community is now scrambling to figure out ways to best provide needed support and services to young adults on the spectrum. A similar scenario is starting to play out with respect to seniors with autism. Today there is little discussion about individuals with autism reaching their senior years even though three notable individuals on the spectrum have reached this age-related milestone.
Autism Symptoms and Diagnosis in Adults – Autism Research Institute
“Classic” symptoms of autism in children are not always present in adults on the spectrum, especially in those underdiagnosed as children (Lewis, 2018). Adults on the spectrum commonly exhibit symptoms related to social and communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, sensory processing difficulties, and issues with executive function and theory of mind.
Challenging behaviors in adults with autism – Autism Research Institute
Challenging behaviors such as aggression, destructiveness, and self-injury take a tremendous toll on adults with autism and their caregivers. Each week, the Autism Research Institute receives desperate communications from caregivers seeking help for an adult son or daughter whose behavior is disturbing, dangerous, or even life-threatening.
This editorial looks at the scope of this problem, current approaches for treatment, and the steps the autism community can take to help people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and caregivers who are struggling with this serious issue.
Interoception Is Impaired in Children, but not Adults, with Autism
A new study suggests that children, but not adults, with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have impairments in interoception. Interoception is the ability to sense the internal state of the body—for instance, to accurately identify sensations such as hunger, thirst, pain, and internal temperature.
Transportation issues rarely addressed by providers – Autism Research Institute
Very few medical or behavioral specialists discuss driving or other transportation-related issues with patients who have ASD (autism spectrum disorders), according to a new study.
Emma Sartin and colleagues surveyed 78 providers, mostly pediatric physicians and psychologists who care for both autistic and non-autistic patients. Half of the providers reported having transportation-related discussions with non-autistic patients, while only one in five discussed transportation issues with patients with ASD. A third of providers believed they were able to assess if non-autistic patients were capable of driving, while only 8 percent believed they could assess the readiness of patients with ASD.
Executive Function & Autism – Autism Research Institute
Executive function (EF) describes the “overarching regulation of goal-directed, future-oriented, higher-order cognitive processes” largely controlled by the frontal cortex (Szczepanski & Knight, 2014; Demetriou et al., 2019). These higher-order functions include skills related to planning, organizing, self-regulation, attention maintenance, emotion regulation, prioritizing, and staying on task. EF skills develop intensely from infancy to the preschool period and steadily improve into early adulthood (Carlson et al., 2013).
The Puzzle of Lifestyle Planning
Everyone makes choices daily that impact life. For example, people decide where they will work, with whom they will live, and in what extracurricular activities they will engage. For individuals with autism spectrum disorders these decisions are often made by others and without the person’s input. Lifestyle planning allows people with autism to explore possibilities, brainstorm strategies, and identify outcomes that are typically beyond what is offered by traditional services. Quite simply, lifestyle planning is a method for supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders in making choices which reflect preferences, areas of strength, and their own visions.
To understand the dilemma that people on the autism spectrum often find themselves in, consider the following scenarios:
- You have just been shown your new office, which consists of a cubicle lit with fluorescent lights. To a person with autism, this may feel like working under a strobe light.
- You’re in high school. It’s time for a math test where each page has ten questions. The scratching sound made by the other students’ writing implements drives you, quite literally, to distraction. Not only that, but all those math questions on the test seem to jumble together.
- You have recently met a special person with whom you think you’d like to have a long-term relationship. Until now, you have put on a good act at “pretending to be normal” (Willey, 1999), and she hasn’t noticed a thing – yet – or has she?
These three cases bear directly on the subject of self-advocacy and disclosure. In each scenario, the situation needs to be modified, which may require an explanation for one or more people. Let’s take a look at what self-advocacy and disclosure are, and what it entails.
Adults with Autism: Survey Takers Needed – Autism Research Institute
We invite you to complete the survey on quality of life issues associated with senior adults on the autism spectrum. We hope the results from this survey will provide much insight into the needs and challenges faced by senior adults with autism (ages 50 and older) and their support providers. We anticipate that this study will also inspire others as well as better inform the autism community, government agencies, and other welfare and health-related organizations about such quality of life issues.
Lifestyle issues play role in shorter life expectancy
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have a shorter life expectancy than people in the general population, and a new study suggests that lifestyle issues play a large role in shortening
Middle and Older Adulthood in Autism: Brain and Behavioral Outcomes
Previous studies have shown that older adults with autism traits may experience notably increased difficulty with executive function and social cognition as they age. Learn about emerging brain
Research Updates on Maternal Autoantibodies and ASD
Judy Van de Water, Ph.D., discusses current machine learning research used to identify several patterns of maternal autoantibodies associated with the diagnosis and severity of autism. She outlines the history of autoantibody research
Brain Inflamed: Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mood Disorders in Teens
Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders frequently co-occur with autism spectrum disorders. Learn about potential triggers, such as autoimmune conditions, thyroid disorders, and post-strep infections, that can lead
Report from a Think Tank on Aging and Autism Published
In 2017, Autism Canada, The Pacific Autism Family Network, and ARI facilitated a think tank on ASD in adulthood and later life in Vancouver, BC. Meetings focused on collaboration around common priorities
Capacity-Building in Adult Services
Linda Walder Fiddle, founder of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, possesses singular optimism and vision when it comes to advancing the quality of life and citizenship for adults with autism spectrum disorders.