Ontario Working Group on Mental Health & Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Unmet Needs of Adults with ASDs
Increasingly, individuals are diagnosed with ASD for the first time in adulthood. Also, those previously diagnosed with non-specific developmental disabilities or learning disabilities are being identified as having ASD. For all adults with ASD, their struggles in social interaction are commonly compounded by mental health issues—particularly anxiety and depression.
Without appropriate diagnostic and mental health services, many adults suffer in isolation. They may be unable to find or keep employment, gain independence, find friends and partners, or function in post-secondary education. A recent provincial study found that a high proportion of affected adults depend on family members well into adulthood, require long-term financial supports, and may have a poor quality of life overall.
Educating Mental Health Professionals
The short-term deliverable of the Ontario Working Group is to organize a day-long conference for mental health practitioners. This will be an opportunity to educate clinicians across the province on the mental health and psychosocial issues that adults with ASD face, while at the same time presenting best practice approaches from expert speakers, consumer panels, and research presentations.
In addition to this unique event, the Ontario Working Groupplans to continue to inform mental health professionals and the public about the needs of this marginalized group.