School Leavers with Autism- a longitudinal study  By Ms Radhika Tanksale, Clinical Psychologist

School Leavers with Autism- a longitudinal study By Ms Radhika Tanksale, Clinical Psychologist

Leaving school is a big change in an adolescence’s life. There are many avenues and options that need to be explored and considered. Given the associated executive dysfunction for some of the individuals on the autism spectrum, preparing, planning, organising, goal setting, decision-making, and self-initiation, this period in life can be challenging. Exploring and understanding the difference between young adults on the autism spectrum and their neurotypical counterparts would provide information in which area further support is required and what kind of support would assist with the better transition.

In the recent e-news published by Autism CRC (The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism), an organisation that focuses on cooperative research in autism, they released a snapshot of their ongoing study from 2014. The study is proposed to run until 2021. The interesting longitudinal study surveyed the transition between adolescence and adulthood. Young people with and without autism, between 15 to 25 years old were followed over a 2-year period. The online survey-based project is called Study of Australian School Leavers with Autism (SASLA). The snapshot provides information on the:

– Age when the diagnosis was provided.

– Experiences at school, both positive and challenging.

– History of bullying.

– Post-high-school study or employment.

– Associated diagnoses such as depression, sleep, anxiety, ADHD, speech and language impairment, allergies, asthma.

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