Aging well on the autism spectrum : an examination of the dominant model of successful aging
Hwang, YI, Foley, KT & Trollor, JN 2018 in press, 'Aging well on the autism spectrum : an examination of the dominant model of successful aging', Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
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There is a gap in our knowledge of aging with autism. The present study examined the applicability of the popular gerontology concept of “aging well” to autistic adults. Using survey data, a model of “aging well” was operationalised and applied to 92 autistic adults and 60 controls. A very small proportion (3.3%) of autistic adults were found to be aging well. Significantly less autistic adults were “maintaining physical and cognitive functioning” and “actively engaging with life” in comparison to controls. Whilst important differences in health and functioning status were found, the current dominant model of “aging well” is limited for examining autistic individuals. Suggested adjustments include development of a broader, more flexible and strengths -based model.