Study of Australian School Leavers with Autism (SASLA) (15-25 years)

Historically, the adult years have been ignored in autism research, despite the fact that these years represent the greatest proportion of individuals’ lives. Hence, limited guidance exists for autistic people and their families about trajectories across the lifespan, and individuals experience high levels of unemployment, mental illness, disengagement, and significant dependency on family members.

The long term aims of this project were to identify and describe the comprehensive and unique profiles of Australian autistic school leavers. This project has delivered a comprehensive and unique profile of Australian adults and provided them with the capacity to find a meaningful place in society. The study has formed a report that identified a number of autism specific variables, not collected anywhere in the world before.

Collaborations between Autism CRC's longitudinal research teams have led to closely aligned study design and common data points, enabling rich datasets to emerge. The combination of the datasets allowed reporting of results on participants with a broad age range, from 15-80 years to gain a broader, lifelong understanding in key areas. These longitudinal studies yielded many important insights into the experiences of Australia’s autistic community and contributed to the critical evaluation and refinement of a range of established measures for use with autistic people. More than 120 peer-reviewed publications have been published using data from our longitudinal studies. All of these resources are listed on Knowledge Centre and on corresponding project pages. 

We would like to thank the many participants who gave significant time in completing the surveys for this study. Longitudinal data from this study will be made available for approved future research purposes through the Australian Autism Biobank in late 2023.

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Project Leader(s)
  • Amanda Richdale, La Trobe University
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