At The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Susan W. White and Antoinette Sabatino DiCriscio introduce a special issue on ASD in adulthood:
The two articles in the third domain concern intervention and service delivery, a sorely under-researched area in adulthood ASD (e.g., Howlin and Taylor 2015). Laugeson and colleagues reported outcomes from a randomized controlled trial of the social intervention program, PEERS for Young Adults (Laugeson 2014). Significant improvement on multiple indices of social functioning were reported as well as evidence for sustained effects 16 weeks after treatment completion. These findings, though preliminary, are crucial to our growing understanding of the malleability of the core social disability domain in ASD. Schall and colleagues compared adults who had completed an organized program (Project SEARCH) to those in supported employment settings who had not received any programming. The results of this novel study are illuminating: adults with ASD have the ability to secure and maintain paid employment when provided with intensive and personalized support. The authors offered suggestions for future research on promoting successful employment outcomes, such as intensive internship experiences that help prepare adults for the challenges and novelty of first-time employment, such as completing assigned tasks and managing potential interruptions or suspending interactions with others until tasks have been successfully completed.
In the final article, Zerbo and colleagues present findings of a study that directly speaks to the need for clearer, action-oriented public policy and improved training of providers. They found that physicians treating adults with ASD report having insufficient training and skills on how to best care for adults with ASD. One of the biggest areas of concern for providers is in how to effectively communicate with their adult patients with ASD.