Health Care Transitions Research Network (HCT-RN) for Youth and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder, characterized by social communication deficits and restricted and repetitive behavior patterns that last a lifetime for most. Given the current prevalence estimate of ASD in the U.S. of 1 in 68 children, about 66,000 youth on the autism spectrum will turn 18 years old each year. Youth on the autism spectrum are especially vulnerable during the developmental transition from adolescence to adulthood due to myriad factors including co-occurring health and mental health challenges.
This is also a time of major service transitions - loss of needed supports upon exit from special education and attempts to access adult systems of care. Outcomes for adults with ASD are bleak with an estimated 50% of young adults on the autism spectrum completely disconnected from any employment or education opportunities during the first two years after high school.
The HCT-RN aims to increase understanding of the factors at the person, family, community, health system, and policy levels that influence population-level measures of life course outcomes. The network is a forum for key stakeholders in the field to connect, collaborate, promote research, and develop innovative projects.