Montreal, Quebec, Canada — It has long been established that providing early interventions for children with autism can help them reach their full potential. But the fact that autism is a lifelong condition means individuals living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need not only interventions and assistance while they are at school— effective programs to help them prepare to live in the real world as adults are essential, too.
An Associate Professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders (SCSD) at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Aparna Nadig, believes just that, so she co-developed a program designed to help individuals with autism transition into adulthood. She says:
“There has been a huge emphasis on early childhood diagnosis and starting intervention as soon as possible – which is definitely important. But autism is a lifelong condition and there are many people who have been living with it, who will continue to live with it and who are forgotten as they leave the school system.”
The program, which was co-developed by Dr. Tara Flanagan of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill, was designed to provide assistance to high-functioning individuals with ASD.
According to Dr. Nadig:
“The population we targeted is very capable but we have some really unfortunate statistics on how they do in life and what their outcomes are like.”
Dr. Nadig further explains that although the high functioning individuals involved had good language skills and high IQ’s they showed difficulties in regards to integration into he workforce and communities. Many do not reach full their potential because the right support is not put in place.
“The program may have been hard to get off the ground but it’s desperately needed and it’s really appreciated by the people we are trying to serve, and that makes it really rewarding.”
Source: Jason Clement on the McGill Reporter website: Providing support for adults with autism