Understanding autism
Understanding autism

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding autism

1.4 Adulthood

A lack of autonomy is especially prevalent in autism compared with other developmental conditions such as Down syndrome (Esbensen et al., 2010). While more profoundly affected adults may gain a residential placement, many autistic adults continue to live with their parents.

Since adult-focused services are very sparsely available, parents and/or other family members typically find themselves with multiple responsibilities, ranging from everyday care to negotiating benefits and seeking employment opportunities for their autistic family member. Even the most able autistic adult is likely to struggle with tasks such as form-filling. A family will need to deal with such administrative tasks, as well as acting as advocate in relation to officialdom. Parents may find themselves torn between caring for their own ageing parents and their adult child. As time passes, parents themselves are likely to become less able to care. This may then impact on siblings, who by this time may have children of their own.

You will learn more about the situation of autistic adults in Week 7.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371