Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 58, Issue 10, pp 1010–1015 | Cite as

Autism spectrum disorders in adolescence and adulthood: Long-term outcomes and relevant issues for treatment and research

  • Allison B. RattoEmail author
  • Gary B. Mesibov
Open Access


The advances in research and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) over the past three decades have focused largely on early childhood and school-age years. Although ASD is a lifelong condition, there has been relatively little attention paid to ASD during the adolescent and adulthood periods. As the population of those with ASD continues to rise and age, the need to provide research and treatment for this group has become increasingly evident. This paper reviews the current literature available on symptoms, functioning, and treatment of adolescents and adults with ASD, as well as the unique issues that arise for individuals with ASD after childhood. Adulthood outcomes for ASD are generally poor, even for those with average to above average cognitive ability. Further research and additional clinical resources are needed for this rapidly increasing group.


autism spectrum disorder (ASD) adolescence adulthood developmental trajectory 


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© The Author(s) 2015

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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