Independent work experience may improve autistic symptoms. That’s the finding of a recent study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
153 adults aged 19 to 53 participated in the study, which followed them for 5½ years. Representing the range of the autism spectrum, some had average or very high IQ scores, while about 70% also had intellectual disabilities.
Most of the participants worked in sheltered workshop environments; others had no job, were strictly volunteering or worked with some level of support in the community. About 20% worked independently in competitive employment or sought a degree.
The researchers found that those who had greater independence in their work activities exhibited more and measurable improvements both in their behaviors and in their daily living skills over the years of the study.