Services for adults with developmental disabilities (i.e., intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder) are limited and are primarily comprised of community-based supports through adult day services and residential providers. However, adults with developmental disabilities continue to exhibit behavioral, social, and adaptive impairments throughout their lifetime, and the quality of available services is often variable. This paper explores treatment of adults with developmental disabilities in a behavioral health setting utilizing brief, problem-solving, and solution focused outpatient behavioral health therapy based on principles of applied behavior analysis. Common diagnoses, presenting concerns, treatment planning, caregiver involvement, data-based decision making, and treatment outcomes will be discussed. Descriptive statistics from the Munroe-Meyer Adult Developmental Disability Behavioral Health Clinic regarding these themes will be reviewed. Limitations practitioners face while working with adults with developmental disabilities within an outpatient behavioral health setting will be addressed and potential solutions to limitations will be explored. This discussion will provide behavioral health providers (e.g., behavior analysts, psychologists, licensed mental health practitioners) insight into providing outpatient behavioral health services to the oftentimes extremely underserved adult developmental disability population.
|Abstract: An increasing number of individuals with ASD are entering adulthood in India. There is growing concern among parents of these individuals, about their employability, future living arrangement, financial independence and safety, particularly as the caregivers grow older. Majority of these individuals struggle with communication and social isolation, according to parent narratives. The participating adults continued to live with their families, having limited social interface and faced a lack of employment opportunities at the time of the study. The study also indicates a need for shift in parental attitudes towards long term planning for the child early into the intervention years. This descriptive study also points to the need for psychoeducation and focused intervention for better adult outcomes and the ongoing need for trained personnel who are specialized in working with adults, apart from residential options for all socio-economic sections of the affected population.
The study was conducted in Chennai, in South India. The primary languages spoken here are Tamil and English. The study summarized the current outcomes of 9 individuals and living in the urban setting. While the study was conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic and imposed lockdowns, all questions were asked in context of pre-pandemic situations.
The study combined questionnaires, interviews and follow up discussions to understand the adult outcomes and the factors driving parental attitudes towards their children and the challenges of transitioning into adulthood with a diagnosis of ASD. Outcomes were classified based on themes such as quality of life, independent living skills and parental attitudes.|