– Adults who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience a range of core and co-morbid characteristics which impede daily functioning and quality of life. Children and adolescents with ASD derive clinically meaningful benefits from psychological interventions, including those designed to reduce socio-communication deficits and mental health conditions. Relatively little is known about the effectiveness of these interventions for the adult ASD population. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
– A selective search of English language, peer-reviewed publications was undertaken, in order to summarise the empirical data pertaining to psychological interventions for adults with high-functioning ASD (HF-ASD).
– Thus far, social skills interventions, cognitive behaviour therapy techniques, and mindfulness-based approaches have been researched most extensively. Interventions have primarily sought to: reduce the impact of core ASD characteristics; enhance skills; and improve co-morbid mental health symptoms. Methodological and clinical heterogeneity render it difficult to generalise study findings across population samples, but overall, interventions appear to be associated with reductions in co-morbid symptom severity, and improved functioning.
– Further studies that seek to improve functioning, reduce co-morbid characteristics, and enhance the propensity for attaining and maintaining independence are now needed.
– Adaptations to standard treatment protocols are likely required in order to enhance engagement and optimise treatment gains.