QUALITY OF LIFE Foundation for Autism Support and Training

Quality of Life Research for Typical Adults as well as Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities

Quality of Life Research for Typical Adults as well as Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities.

For an adult with autism, a quality environment is one which provides for basic needs to be met including food, shelter, safety and social contact; it is one that provides for a range of opportunities within the individuals potential; and it provides for control and choice within that environment, whether the person lives in community housing options, residential facilities, residential programs, residential schools, group homes, supported housing, or housing alternatives.

Much work has been done on the topic of quality of life both for typical adults as well as adults with autism and other disabilities by Research Unit Director, Dr. Rebecca Renwick of the University of Toronto, Department of Occupational Therapy and Centre for Health Promotion, at: http://www.utoronto.ca/qol/pwdd.htm. This research team developed a comprehensive Quality of Life Profile for Adults. This online profile was developed to provide a measure that considers both the components and determinants of health and well-being. More information can be found at: http://www.utoronto.ca/qol/profile/adultVersion.html.

QOL Researchers Define Quality of Life as:

The degree in which a person enjoys the important possibilities of his or her life.

Possibilities result from the opportunities and limitations each person has in his/her life and reflect the interaction of the personal and the environmental factors.

Enjoyment has two components: the experience of satisfaction or the possession or achievement of some characteristic, as illustrated by the expression, “She enjoys good health”.

This definition becomes tricky when considering the full population of adults on the autism spectrum, because some people with autism may be highly satisfied with the important possibilities of their lives within an environment that is of poor quality. This may result from the person with autism being unaware that better quality is possible, or from a conscious awareness that they have to suppress the importance of some possibilities because of their present circumstances. People living in institutional-like residential facilities and settings may consider their quality of life to be good because they have no opportunities to know other possibilities and may be powerless to effect change in any case. Given that:

Quality of Life needs to include the quality of the environment in which the person with autism lives! This may include community housing options, residential facilities, residential programs, residential schools, group homes, supported housing, and other housing alternatives.

A quality environment is one which provides for basic needs to be met including food, shelter, safety and social contact; provides for a range of opportunities within the individuals potential; and provides for control and choice within that environment.

white corners