We are now quickly approaching our next SARG seminar —Autism continued… Adulthood and Ageing, that will take place in Glasgow on February 26th. Our previous seminar started to examine the lifespan of autism, from embryo to adult in society. Now we further extend this lifespan to explore what happens in adulthood and beyond in the lives of autistic people.
Far are the days when autism was synonymous of “children with autism.” As documented in our previous seminar, research and practice have adapted to the reality of the grown-up child with autism and the diagnosed adult. Even in the popular imagination the term Autism is now also identified with young adults. However, there is much less awareness of the inevitable fact that people diagnosed with autism also become older adults, and they are confronted with the changes and challenges of older age. The forthcoming seminar tackles this critical aspect of the lifespan.
Even in mainstream psychology late adulthood and ageing were for very long a relatively neglected area of study. The focus was traditionally on the adult, assumed to have reached the crossing line of their developmental trip that started at the womb. But little by little psychology and its associated disciplines had to face the reality that development does not stop at the beginning of adulthood, and that our mind and behavior continue to change and adapt to new challenges in later life.
As in the typical individual, life and development also continue in the person with autism, with new challenges for the individuals themselves and the caretakers, and of course the researchers, that must help chart and understand how people with autism change in this crucial period of their lives. Our new seminar addresses this with a distinguished set of speakers who will tackle key issues in middle and late adulthood Autism: how cognitive functioning changes in the person with autism as they grow older, and how research on these and other issues may help improve outcomes for the individual adult; how to deal with the impact of key biological events like the menopause, the end of life, and the challenges of palliative care, etc.
This is a very timely seminar, on a topic that will become more and more relevant and demanding in the future, and that only in the last years has started to be confronted to identify the needs and specificities of this phase of life in the atypical population with special needs.
blog post by SARG committee member Juan-Carlos Gomez.