Online survey throws light on issues in autism spectrum disorder in later life

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This study reports an online survey that set out to find out more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in later life. The survey consisted of an online questionnaire (biographical information, general health, quality of life, score on Autism Quotient [AQ] measure) of adults in their forties, resident in the UK, diagnosed with ASD or who suspected they had ASD.

Responses from the survey suggested that responders had health issues and quality of life problems significantly greater than would be expected in the general population. Responses also suggested that issues for younger people with ASD (social isolation/anxiety) persisted throughout adult life.

The number of responses is small (n=29), but the author suggests that the findings add weight to the need for an examination of  autism spectrum disorder in the older population.

What happens to people with autism spectrum disorders in middle age and beyond? Report of a preliminary on-line study, Stuart-Hamilton I & Morgan H,  in Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 5, 2, 22-28.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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