Autism CRC is currently undertaking several longitudinal studies which will provide data and baselines to aid the development of future tools, practice and policy for people on the autism spectrum. These include longitudinal studies on:
- Australian pre-school aged children on the spectrum
- Australian students on the spectrum
- Australian school leavers on the spectrum
- Australian adults on the spectrum
The longitudinal Study of Australian School Leavers with Autism (SASLA) has now released a snapshot to understand who is taking part in this survey and what their experiences are at the time of first entering the study. This online survey project follows young people aged 15 to 25 years over a 2-year period. It is part of a long-term Autism CRC strategy to develop a range of assets for national and international autism research.
Longitudinal studies such as SASLA allow researchers to explore changes in a person’s development and outcomes over an extended period of time. In this particular study, we are focusing on the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This is an important and difficult period for all young people. We are interested in learning more about the rewards and challenges over this time for young people on the autism spectrum, and how this compares to individuals not on the spectrum.
The snapshot provides information on the profiles of the people who have completed the first of three surveys, including their school experiences and what they are doing since leaving school. It was completed by:
- 142 autistic 15-25 year olds
- 222 non-autistic 15-25 years olds
- 113 parents/carers of those on the spectrum.
The snapshot covers the experiences of autistic and non-autistic young people. A snapshot of parents/carers will follow later in 2019.
Some people have already completed follow-up surveys at 12 months and even 24 months.
Over the next three years the SASLA team will focus on the 12- and 24-month follow-ups with people who completed the first survey. The team will focus on identifying any inequalities or difficulties experienced by autistic young people, including any changes over time. The information collected in SASLA will allow the team to explore factors that can be targeted for developing appropriate supports.
This is just one of the ways Autism CRC and our partners are working together to make a positive difference to the lives of people on the spectrum.