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Autism Res Treat. 2014;2014:502420. doi: 10.1155/2014/502420. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Mental health services for individuals with high functioning autism spectrum disorder.

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1
Dual Diagnosis Service, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 501 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 2B4 ; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, 8th Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8.
2
Dual Diagnosis Service, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 501 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 2B4.

Abstract

Adolescents and adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who do not have an intellectual impairment or disability (ID), described here as individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD), represent a complex and underserved psychiatric population. While there is an emerging literature on the mental health needs of children with ASD with normal intelligence, we know less about these issues in adults. Of the few studies of adolescents and adults with HFASD completed to date, findings suggest that they face a multitude of cooccurring psychiatric (e.g., anxiety, depression), psychosocial, and functional issues, all of which occur in addition to their ASD symptomatology. Despite this, traditional mental health services and supports are falling short of meeting the needs of these adults. This review highlights the service needs and the corresponding gaps in care for this population. It also provides an overview of the literature on psychiatric risk factors, identifies areas requiring further study, and makes recommendations for how existing mental health services could include adults with HFASD.

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