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There are a number of issues of concern with regard to autism in adults:
- The condition remains largely undiagnosed in adults. A recent UK National Health Service survey reported an adult incidence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders running at the rate of 1 in 100. Whilst the study presents with many flaws essentially using a screening tool designed to look at mild autism traits, identifying only 19 individuals with ASD using ADOS-4 (a module designed for verbal ASD adults), it may suggest that as many as1% of adults have an Asperger condition. Much better designed studies will need to be conducted however to determine the real incidence of ASD in autism.
- There are insufficient employment or volunteering opportunities which limit the chances of insertion in the community. A recent BBC documentary entitled “Autism Me” illustrates this issue very well. ATT is engaged with its limited capacity to assist by providing volunteer positions to individuals on the spectrum. Currently our charity very successful benefit from the work of 3 ASD volunteers.
- There are insufficient good quality home placements for those on the spectrum unable to live independently.
- There are currently many ASD adults who are placed in psychiatric hospital settings, often under heavy medication and with unrecognised health issues. Issues of behaviours in those settings are typically dealt with seclusion, restraint and pharmacological modification. See preview of beautiful French Film, Her Name Is Sabine, on this issue. The 85-minute beautifully filmed directorial debut by acclaimed French actress Sandrine Bonnaire won the International Film Critics Federation Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. This sort of problem is illustrated here with the story of a young Aspeger Adutl misdiagnosed with a mental health disorder.
- Opportunities to integrate in the community and to continue to learn are extremely limited.
- Assistance to families caring for an adult on the spectrum is almost non-existent.