There are shockingly few behavioral interventions for adults with autism — a group that grows by about50,000 people each year in the U.S. That’s why the results of a recent trial caught our attention.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that a 16-week training program significantly improved social functioning in young adults with autism. For example, the study participants became more engaged and cooperative during social interactions. What’s more, the benefits persisted for 16 weeks after the training ended.
The study was small, but it’s a necessary step toward treatments for adults on the spectrum.
“There is still a misconception that autism is a childhood disorder,” lead researcher Elizabeth Laugeson, director of the UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, said in a media statement. “It’s as if we’ve forgotten that these children grow up to be adults with their own unique challenges that very often affect their ability to be gainfully employed or establish meaningful friendships and romantic relationships.”