Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 12, pp 1431–1446 | Cite as

Changes in the Autism Behavioral Phenotype During the Transition to Adulthood

  • Julie Lounds TaylorEmail author
  • Marsha Mailick Seltzer
Original Paper


We examined whether exiting high school was associated with alterations in rates of change in autism symptoms and maladaptive behaviors. Participants were 242 youth with ASD who had recently exited the school system and were part of our larger longitudinal study; data were collected at five time points over nearly 10 years. Results indicated overall improvement of autism symptoms and internalized behaviors over the study period, but slowing rates of improvement after exit. Youth who did not have an intellectual disability evidenced the greatest slowing in improvement. Lower family income was associated with less improvement. Our findings suggest that adult day activities may not be as intellectually stimulating as educational activities in school, reflected by less phenotypic improvement after exit.


Autism spectrum disorder Transition to adulthood Maladaptive behaviors Autism symptoms 



This project was supported by the Marino Autism Research Institute (J. L. Taylor, PI), the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG08768, M. M. Seltzer, PI) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P30 HD15052, E. M. Dykens, PI: P30 HD03352, M. M. Seltzer PI). We are grateful to Erin Barker for statistical consultation and Dan Bolt for his comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Lounds Taylor
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marsha Mailick Seltzer
    • 3
  1. 1.Vanderbilt Kennedy CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsVanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at VanderbiltNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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