The Life of Adults with ASD in Japan: Are They Having a Happy Adulthood?
Objectives: The primary focus of the present study was to understand the current status of daily living in adults with ASD in Japan. Specifically, the study analyzed their thoughts for their own life and support needs. Factors related to their independent living, including mental health conditions, community supports, residential issues, were also investigated.
Methods: Sixty-four adults aged 18 to 52 (46 male, 18 female) participated in this study. A set of survey forms was distributed to each participant to fill out. Some participants needed help to understand meanings of the questions. The set was consisted of a questionnaire, the K10 (Furukawa et al., 2003), and the PRIME Screen-Revised (Kobayashi et al., 2008). A questionnaire was developed for the study to survey the participants’ current daily living, ideal lifestyle, and mental/medical conditions.
Results: Collected data revealed that more than half of the participants did not have jobs and enough income or savings to keep living by themselves. More than 60 % of the participants reported they were living with their families. Over 70% of them wanted to stay with their families in the future. To the questions regarding the life after their parents’ death, although nearly half of the participants told their wish of independent living, they had concerns for living by themselves and needed supports to do so. From the data related to the mental health conditions, results of the K10 indicated that 35.6% of the participants scored higher than the cut-off score, indicating possibilities of having mood/anxiety disorders. Additionally, results of the PRIME-Screen Revised revealed that 20.3% of participants were assessed as “positive” about having prodromal symptoms of psychosis. 14.1% of the participants scored higher than the cut-off score of the K10 and rated “positive” in the PRIME-Screen Revised.
Conclusions: The results indicated that Japanese adults with ASD have a number of concerns and needs for community living. Many of them want to have an independent life; however, they also realize numerous difficulties and the needs of supports. Levels of intellectual functioning and education would not alleviate such problems in the cases of ASD. Additionally, mental health condition could be an another concern. Many of these populations may need to deal not only with their own ASD specific traits, but also with other mental health conditions in their adulthood. The issues regarding availability of community-based services for adults with ASD should be examined thoroughly and resolved immediately to assure their quality of life.