Some young adults with ASD have benefited from intervention for many years, while others are learning about their diagnosis for the first time. As they transition to more independence after high school and beyond, many young adults with ASD experience a decrease in structured supports (e.g., school interventions) combined with greater expectations for independence. This period of life can be stressful for anyone, given the new choices and responsibilities that come along with it. For someone with ASD, this may be complicated by increased awareness of their differences from others, feeling like they are missing out on what their peers are doing, and/or increased stress of navigating college, work, or home life. Young adults with ASD are also at risk for depression and anxiety given these factors; in fact, Dr. Sterling’s research has shown us that there are very high rates of these ‘comorbid’ conditions among adults with ASD. Individual therapy and support for the family can be helpful in providing a ‘bridge’ toward the next phase or important strategies for managing the current phase.
Areas of challenges and strengths vary for each individual with ASD, making each person with ASD truly unique. Various challenges associated with having an ASD can impact multiple aspects of life. Therapy can target areas that are most important for each individual and family, with the goal of strengthening skills, reducing symptoms known to cause increased stress and challenges (e.g., anxiety and loneliness), and ultimately improving overall quality of life.