Autism Spectrum Disorder and Transition-Aged Youth

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Sep 21;20(11):103. doi: 10.1007/s11920-018-0967-y.


Purpose of review: This article discusses common issues surrounding transition to adulthood in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We review recent evidence on co-occurring medical and mental health conditions and topics of education and employment, sexuality and relationships, independent living, and financial support.

Recent findings: Transitioning individuals with ASD have increased risk for several medical and behavioral health comorbidities and should be routinely screened for co-occurring conditions. Evidence on interventions for mental health disorders is limited but emerging, particularly with respect to mindfulness training and cognitive behavioral therapy. Many autistic adults or their families express a desire for independent living, participation in education/employment, and intimacy and social relationships, but they often lack skills and/or resources to successfully achieve these outcomes. The time of transition to adulthood for adolescents with ASD is an opportunity for physicians to provide anticipatory guidance and necessary supports around issues of community participation. To allow time for planning, these discussions should occur well before the child reaches adulthood. Clinicians should also routinely screen for and address medical and/or behavioral health comorbidities.

Keywords: Adolescent; Adult; Autism; Transition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / complications*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Young Adult