Title

Parental caregivers’ use of support networks for adults with autism by educational status

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Department/School

Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of Family Social Work

Abstract

© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis. The predominance of literature on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) focuses on the diagnosis and needs of young children with ASD and their parental caregivers. Research that compares adults with ASD who were in extended public school programs and those who had either aged out of the programs or were not attending these programs and their service needs is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in caregivers’ reported use of formal and informal social support services for adults with ASD in public educational systems and those who are not receiving services from the educational system. A national sample of 320 parents (age 50+) of an adult child (18+) diagnosed with ASD completed a web-based survey. Results of the study indicated that parental caregivers and adults with ASD were not accessing support services, especially after leaving or aging out of public schools. Social work practitioners and other healthcare professionals can play an important role in addressing the needs of parents and individuals with ASD as they transition into adulthood and age across the lifespan. Future research should investigate the need for services for adults with disabilities, specifically ASD.

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