Autism is a complex disorder with many contributing factors. High number of subjects, both in their childhood and adulthood, does not receive an adequate diagnosis and does not benefit from an integrated welfare pathways. Autism persist into adulthood and the majority of cases diagnosed in childhood continue to meet criteria for the disorder in early adult life.
Current study evaluated the effectiveness of a Farm Community model intervention for adults subjects with PDD.
An initial cohort of 10 young adult subjects with autism, diagnosed according to DSM IV and ADOS-G criteria, is enrolled in an intervention program based on Farm Community model. As to young adults, the Farm Community model aims to be like a family: the “home-like” character guarantees, in fact, a safe, comfortable environment which permits privacy and independence at the same time but which is also configured as a focal point of activities and social relations, open to the surrounding community.
The results to date show the effectiveness of the procedures and techniques utilised. At follow-up study (after 1 year), the adult subjects have made notable progress in communication and social interaction evaluated with VABS (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale).
The farm model intervention can produce substantial functional improvements and it is ideal for adults with Autism for many reasons: a)rural life is more simple, less stressful and safer than urban life; b) many persons with autism are more suited to life in a quiet open environment; c) a farm setting offers potential to develop skills and offer meaningful work opportunities.