What it Means to Age with Autism

Tue 13th

13:40 - 14:00

Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disorder with known impacts throughout the lifespan. Whilst the majority of Autism research is dedicated to child and adolescent development, there is little known about the the trajectory of development of autism in adulthood, even less so in middle and later adulthood.

My research is interested in filling this information gap and furthering theory on Ageing with Autism from the perspectives of the adults themselves. A better understanding of the life course pattern of autism is essential for developing appropriate, person-centred support and service provision, which is particularly pertinent in the ageing population we live in.

By conducting interviews with families of adults on the spectrum, I hope to elucidate some of the questions regarding what it means to age with autism. This will be guided entirely by the lived experiences, needs and goals of adults growing into older adulthood and their families.

Anna Gilleard

Psychology

College of Social Sciences

I am a curious and enthusiastic philosophy and psychology student, now in my 4th year. My interest in Developmental psychology has blossomed into a complete fascination with Autism alongside the work I have done supporting children and now adults with Autism.Having worked closely with a wonderful gentleman on the spectrum, I am constantly surprised and intrigued by how Autism can shape a person's experience of the world and their way of thinking in a way that tells us much about our own minds too. Being of a loyal philosophy background, the unanswered questions fascinate me most, how do individuals experience ageing with autism and how do they attribute meaning to these experiences?So it made sense to turn these midnight musings into research that could potentially benefit many individuals like the gentleman I support, and more broadly, all of us in understanding our own minds a little bit better.