4 Outcomes across the spectrum
The extent to which autistic people are capable of a ‘standard’ adult life varies greatly. In general, those more profoundly affected are more likely to need care and support, either at home or in a residential home. However, this group may also include high-functioning adults, who experience disabling levels of anxiety, or find that adaptive functioning skills – such as dressing, preparing a meal for themselves or paying bills – are too challenging. On the other hand a substantial number of adults do live independently of their parents or other forms of support. This group undoubtedly includes many people whose autism is undiagnosed.
Finally, a small proportion of those on the spectrum do appear to lose their autistic symptoms altogether, achieving what have been termed optimal outcomes. This section considers a range of outcomes, incorporating individual life stories.