An exploration of challenges facing young adults with HF-ASD: the experiences of professionals

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O'Connor, Daisy
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
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Background: There is a dearth of literature that addresses day to day challenges that face young adults with high functioning (HF) ASD. Previous studies in this area of research have reported high levels of anxiety with many finding everyday living overwhelming. It can be difficult to engage this cohort in research, therefore, health professionals who work closely with this group were chosen as a surrogate to address their difficulties. They are an undervalued resource in describing their experiences. Objectives: • To explore the challenges in everyday life for people with ASD • To identify the role of ASPECT and the perspectives/ experiences of those who work there • To identify ways in which the challenges can be overcome Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken with thirteen professionals working in ASPECT. The participants were from a varied background including education, social care and psychology. They were interviewed in three separate focus groups. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis followed from this. Results: Challenges facing young adults with autism were divided into intrinsic and extrinsic challenges. This included communication, emotional regulation, vulnerability, boundaries, social imagination, bullying, isolation, lack of awareness in healthcare, funding and the family’s understanding. A broad range of topics were also discussed regarding the role of ASPECT and their recommendations going forward. Conclusion: There is need for more awareness regarding autism and their struggles’. There is an onus on medical professionals to educate themselves on all members of their patient cohort. Hopefully with a more sensitive approach this will have a significant impact on their treatment.
HF-ASD , Young adults , Professionals
O’Connor, D. (2021) An exploration of challenges facing young adults with HF-ASD: the experiences of professionals. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
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©2021, Daisy O’Connor.