The overall goal of this day is to provide attendees with information about the key issues that affect ASD adults who do not have intellectual disabilities and appropriate interventions. The focus will be on common obstacles in everyday life and maximising developmental progress. The presentations will include video of adults describing common difficulties and the day will end with a panel presentation by adults followed by questions from the audience.
0830 Breakfast & Registration
0900 Introduction to Management of Able Adults with ASD
Adults with ASD face multiple challenges including high rates of co-morbid psychiatric disorders, suboptimal progress through higher education and poor employment prospects, difficulties with relationships and difficulties transitioning to independence in adulthood. Many of these difficulties can be ameliorated with appropriate interventions, but optimising progress usually requires setting clear priorities.
- Research data suggest that outcome for adults with ASD is often suboptimal and there are still many gaps in service provision.
- Adults with ASD often face multiple simultaneous challenges, but a high treatment priority is to identify and treat any comorbid psychiatric disorders.
- The overall goals of management are to improve quality of life, and to maximise independence skills in a timely fashion y
1000 Refreshment Break
1030 Diagnosing and Managing Co-morbid Disorders
Over the last 10 or so years we have become increasingly aware that adults with ASD experience very high rates of co-morbid psychiatric disorders, which often cause as much or more impairment than the core disorder. Nevertheless, many aspects of ASD can delay the recognition of co-morbidities. Overall, treatments that are effective in the general population seem also to be efficacious in adults with ASD, although sometimes psychological interventions may need some modification.
- Comorbid psychiatric disorders are very common in adults with ASD, particularly anxiety, but some individuals may be poor at recognising relevant symptoms.
- Some psychiatric symptoms are exacerbated by lack of routine and structure and these environmental factors should not be overlooked in management
- Some patients may be inflexible when considering treatment options and the capacity to take a long-term view is an important aspect of management
1230 Lunch (provided)
1315 Optimising Higher Education, Work and Independence
Worldwide, progress in higher education and employment rates for adults with ASD are both poor and many individuals fail to achieve independence. Institutes of higher education have gotten better at supporting affected individuals but transitioning into employment remains a systemic weakness. Success in employment is often predated by voluntary work experience and job coaches may be available, although overall employment support remains very limited. Overall, very few resources are available in the community for adults without ID and families still remain a bedrock for many individuals.
- Many adults with ASD can succeed in higher education and the workplace, but careful planning and preparation increase the chances of success and progress may initially be slower than in the typically developing population.
- The major worry for parents is how their offspring will support themselves and live independently in the future and addressing those concerns usually requires a focus on the acquisition of specific skills.
- Low rates of employment are a major obstacle to independence and contribute to low self-esteem.
1445 Refreshment Break
1515 Panel Presentation by Adults with ASD & Questions
Three or four individuals with ASD will give descriptions of their experiences with higher education, employment, dealing with psychiatric comorbidity and parenting. The panel will then take questions from the audience.
1615 Wrap up and future support and mentorship
The key points of management will be summarised and opportunities for support and mentorship in managing adults with ASD will be reviewed. Audience to complete feedback forms.
1630 Conference Evaluations
1645 Conference Ends