Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 9, pp 1735–1747

Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behaviors in Adolescents and Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder


    • University of Wisconsin
  • Marsha Mailick Seltzer
    • University of Wisconsin
  • Jan S. Greenberg
    • University of Wisconsin
  • Gael I. Orsmond
    • Boston University
  • Daniel Bolt
    • University of Wisconsin
  • Sheilah Kring
    • University of Wisconsin
  • Julie Lounds
    • University of Wisconsin
  • Catherine Lord
    • University of Michigan
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0307-7

Cite this article as:
Shattuck, P.T., Seltzer, M.M., Greenberg, J.S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2007) 37: 1735. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0307-7


This study examined change prospectively in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors during a 4.5 year period in 241 adolescents and adults with an autism spectrum disorder who were 10–52 years old (mean = 22.0) when the study began. Although many individuals’ symptoms remained stable, a greater proportion of the sample experienced declines than increases in their level of autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors, and there were significant improvements in mean levels of symptoms. Individuals with mental retardation had more autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors than those without mental retardation, and they improved less over time. Compared to adolescents, older sample members (31 and older) had fewer maladaptive behaviors and experienced more improvement in these behaviors over time.


Autism symptomsMaladaptive behaviorsLifespan development

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006