Uncertain Futures: Reporting the Experiences and Worries of Autistic Adults and Possible Implications for Social Work Practice

Jacqui Rodgers, Renske Herrema, Deborah Garland, Malcolm Osborne, Rosanne Cooper, Philip Heslop, Mark Freeston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Little research has focused on autism in adulthood. Little is known about the concerns autistic adults may have, particularly about their futures, to inform support and social work practice. The objective of this study was to explore the nature of the worries autistic adults have about their futures. Four focus groups were conducted with autistic adults (n = 23), where worries about the next five years and next twenty years were discussed. Participants also discussed what might be helpful and unhelpful to support them in preparing for the future. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. The overarching theme emerging from the study concerned worries relating to uncertainty about what the future may hold. The main elements of this were worries relating to support needs, the impact of an autism diagnosis and knowledge of autism from others. Subordinate themes included worries about relationships with others, living circumstances and health. These data demonstrate that current support is perceived as insufficient. The implications for social work practice include autism awareness and focused practice-based support for autistic adults. The lack of autism-specific knowledge amongst professionals and the general public was identified by research participants as a barrier in terms of accessing employment and health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1817-1836
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Volume49
Issue number7
Early online date24 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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