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      How well are children with autism spectrum disorder doing academically at school? An overview of the literature.

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          The academic achievement of individuals with autism spectrum disorder has received little attention from researchers despite the importance placed on this by schools, families and students with autism spectrum disorder. Investigating factors that lead to increased academic achievement thus would appear to be very important. A review of the literature was conducted to identify factors related to the academic achievement of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. A total of 19 studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria for the review. Results indicated that many individuals demonstrate specific areas of strength and weakness and there is a great deal of variability in general academic achievement across the autism spectrum. Adolescents and individuals with lower IQ scores were underrepresented, and few studies focused on environmental factors related to academic success. The importance of individualised assessments that profile the relative strengths and weaknesses of children and adolescents to aid in educational programming was highlighted. Further research on child-related and environmental factors that predict academic achievement is needed.

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          Most cited references28

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          Cognitive, language, social and behavioural outcomes in adults with autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review of longitudinal follow-up studies in adulthood.

          Although increasing numbers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are now entering adolescence and adulthood, there is limited research on outcomes post childhood. A systematic review of the existing literature was conducted. PsycINFO, PubMed, MedLine and CINAHL were systematically searched using keywords related to ASD and adolescent and adult outcomes. Studies of individuals diagnosed with ASD in childhood and followed up into adulthood were identified and reviewed. Only studies with samples sizes >10, mean age at outcome >16 years and at least one previous assessment in childhood (<16 years) were included. Twenty-five studies meeting criteria were identified. Reported outcomes in adulthood were highly variable across studies. Although social functioning, cognitive ability and language skills remained relatively stable in some studies, others reported deterioration over time. Adaptive functioning tended to improve in most studies. Diagnosis of autism or ASD was generally stable, although severity of autism-related behavioural symptoms was often reported to improve. Childhood IQ and early language ability appeared to be the strongest predictors of later outcome, but few studies examined other early variables associated with adult functioning. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to methodological challenges in longitudinal outcome research and future research directions. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Reading and arithmetic in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders: peaks and dips in attainment.

            In describing academic attainment in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), results are typically reported at the group mean level. This may mask subgroups of individuals for whom academic achievement is incommensurate with intellectual ability. The authors tested the IQ, literacy, and mathematical abilities of a large group (N = 100) of adolescents (14-16 years old) with ASD. Seventy-three percent of the sample had at least one area of literacy or mathematical achievement that was highly discrepant (approximately 14 standard score points) from full-scale IQ (FSIQ). The authors focused on four subgroups with either word reading ("Reading Peak" and "Reading Dip") or arithmetic ("Arithmetic Peak" and "Arithmetic Dip") higher or lower than FSIQ. These subgroups were largely mutually exclusive and were characterized by distinct intellectual profiles. The largest was the "Arithmetic Peak" subgroup of participants, who presented with average intellectual ability alongside superior arithmetic skills and who were predominantly in a mainstream educational setting. Overall, the most pervasive profile was discrepantly poor reading comprehension, which associated with severity of social and communication difficulties. The high rate of uneven academic attainment in ASD has implications for educational practice.
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              Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders


                Author and article information

                Autism : the international journal of research and practice
                SAGE Publications
                Apr 2016
                : 20
                : 3
                [1 ] Griffith University, Australia Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), Australia d.keen@griffith.edu.au.
                [2 ] Griffith University, Australia Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC), Australia.

                academic achievement,autism spectrum disorders,education outcomes,predictors


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