Young adults with autism are more likely to live with their parents and least likely to live independently after leaving high school as compared to those with other types of disabilities, researchers say.
Only about 17 percent of young adults on the spectrum ages 21 to 25 have ever lived independently. By comparison nearly 34 percent of their peers with intellectual disability have, researchers reported online recently in the journal Autism.
Since leaving high school, the vast majority of young adults with autism — nearly 9 in 10 — have spent at least some time living with a parent or guardian, the study found. And most have never tried another living situation.
“As the prevalence of ASDs continues to rise, so too does the number of young adults transitioning into adulthood,” wrote Kristy Anderson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her colleagues in their findings. “The evidence presented in this study suggests that the vast majority of this population will be residing in the parental or guardian home during the period of emerging adulthood.”
For the study, researchers looked at the experiences of 620 individuals with autism from across the country. They were compared with 450 individuals with intellectual disability, 410 with learning disabilities and 380 with emotional disturbance who were all part of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, a long-term federally-funded survey of students in special education and their parents.
“Young adults with an ASD resided with a parent or guardian at higher rates and for longer periods of time after leaving high school than young adults with ED, LD or (intellectual disability). Moreover, young adults with an ASD had the highest rate of supervised living arrangements and the lowest rate of independent living since leaving high school,” the study found.
Researchers behind the new report said the findings suggest that further study is needed to evaluate how to improve transition planning to best meet the needs of those with autism.