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Research Needed on Resources for Young Adults with ASD

By Chelsea Toledo, M.A. on September 11, 2018

Background: Most research done to date on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has focused on individual factors and outcomes, such as the genetic basis for ASD or the effects of treatment on individuals. However, less academic attention has been given to people with ASD as a population – such as studies of the non-clinical interventions that may affect outcomes for this group.


What’s New: A recent article outlined a new research agenda, prioritizing topics for those studying ASD in the United States. These priorities stemmed from key informant interviews as well as a meeting of stakeholders representing the medical, therapeutic, educational, policy, and public health fields. Both of these processes were informed by a scoping review identifying gaps in existing research on ASD and the transition of youth into adulthood.


The stakeholders identified three main priorities for research targeting youth with ASD:


  • Studies describing the existing landscape of services and programs for people with ASD, including its availability and adaptability to individual needs;
  • Studies on the coordination of ASD stakeholders, including adults with ASD, their family members, and mental health organizations; and
  • Studies on the quality of life of people with ASD and how it varies among people, groups, and populations.


Why it’s important: This article sets out knowledge gaps in the existing research on ASD and provides a path forward for researchers interested in helping this population. The authors also emphasize the need for increased involvement of people with ASD in informing priorities and moving the research agenda forward.

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