Mental Health Counseling Rated as Most Helpful Service by Adults with Autism

October 09, 2023

Employment Services Viewed as the Next Most Important

Researchers from the University of North Carolina have recently produced a study highlighting the need for improved access, quality, and outcomes of services for adults with autism. This new research indicates that there are an estimated 5.4 million adults with autism within the United States who need services. The current study’s design involved surveying adults with autism to gather their perspectives on the most helpful services in adulthood. The authors found that mental health services, particularly seeing a mental health counselor, were associated with increased participation in social/recreational activities, full-time employment, and visiting unique locations in the community. However, the study also found that overall receipt of services was low, with an average of only 2 out of 17 services received in the past two years, reflecting a lack of available services for adults with autism. The study suggests that mental health and employment services are essential for success in adulthood and that an interdisciplinary team-based approach like the Assertive Community Treatment model could provide customized support for the needs of adults with autism to live, work, and participate in the community as independently as desired. This work also highlights the need for mental health counselors trained to work with individuals on the spectrum and to address racial discrepancies in service provision and accessibility to employment services.

Original Study

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