This article addresses an important and barely researched topic: what happens to children with autism spectrum disorders when they grow old. We review the small published literature on aging in autism. We then consider the relevance of research on ‘neurotypical’ aging in core domains of autistic impairment: social cognition, executive function, cognitive style and memory. Research themes from the study of normal aging, including cognitive reserve, compensation, quality of life, loneliness and physical health are of relevance for future research on autism. Studies of aging in autism will be important not only to plan appropriate services, but also to shed light on the full developmental trajectory of this neurodevelopmental condition, and perhaps provide clues to neuropathology and etiology.
© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Asperger syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorders
- Old age
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Prof. Francesca Happé
MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre
Institute of Psychiatry (PO 80), King’s College London
De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF (UK)
Tel. +44 207 848 0873, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: October 29, 2010
Accepted: May 25, 2011
Published online: August 24, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 89
Gerontology (International Journal of Experimental, Clinical, Behavioural and Technological Gerontology)
Vol. 58, No. 1, Year 2012 (Cover Date: December 2011)
Journal Editor: Wick G. (Innsbruck)
ISSN: 0304-324X (Print), eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)
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