This longitudinal study is one of two comprehensive studies of Australian adults with autism. This study will follow 160 young adults/school leaver with autism over four years. It aims to identify and describe the unique profiles of Australian school leavers with autism.

Project leader: Associate Professor Amanda Richdale, La Trobe University

The transition from school to adult life is one of the most difficult to traverse for young people with autism as services are fragmented, poorly coordinated and not well understood by families (IACC, 2011). Unlike autism diagnosis and early intervention, negligible funding is available in Australia or internationally to address adult service provision or research. As a result, the adult years have been ignored, despite the fact that these years represent the greatest proportion of individuals’ lives. Hence, limited guidance exists for people with autism and their families about trajectories across the lifespan and individuals experience high levels of unemployment, mental illness, disengagement, and significant dependency on family members (Piven & Rabins, 2011).

This project involves a prospective longitudinal study with adolescents and adults transitioning from school to higher education and vocational training. It will provide a comprehensive and unique profile of Australian adults and provide them with the capacity to find a meaningful place in society. The study will form a report that identifies a number of autism specific variables, not collected anywhere in the world before. It aims to identify and describe the comprehensive and unique profiles of Australian school leavers with autism.

The linked research objectives are to:

  • Compare the data on specific variables with a matched control group, in order to discriminate the unique ASD profile from what are general requirements.
  • Identify autism specific variables, with respect to Successful Transition to Employment Protocol - Autism Spectrum Conditions (STEP-A) and Integrated Employment Success Tool (IEST) variables, in order to inform the development of the STEP-A and IEST tools.

Find out how to participate in this study here.

Project Participants:

  • Curtin University
  • The University of Queensland
  • La Trobe University
  • University of New South Wales
  • Asperger Services
  • Autism Association of Western Australia
  • Minds and Hearts
Research program: