The long term outcomes for those with Aspergers syndrome (high functioning autism) depends on the severity of their symptoms, their baseline IQ, their ability to communicate and what kinds of interventions and support they receive. Those who come from supportive families, retain a reasonable sense of self-esteem, and become relatively well-educated, stand a good chance of getting into solid relationships, finding good jobs and having a normal life.
In other cases, the Aspergers symptoms are severe enough to affect speech and interpersonal relationship or the individual’s IQ is low enough to impair their ability to find a good job, leaving them with a low paying job or on disability.
Because some Aspergers syndrome individuals suffer from depression and OCD as adults, these secondary characteristics can negatively impact how an Aspergers syndrome individual develops and grows into adulthood. Some have landed in prison for violent behavior against others.
Several research studies have looked at outcome in Aspergers syndrome. In one study, outcome was looked at in a cross section of sufferers. After a five year followup using specific outcome criteria, the outcome in Aspergers syndrome was found to be good in 27% of cases. However, in 26% of cases, the individual maintained a very restricted life, with no occupation/activity to occupy their time and no friends.
Another study looked at outcome in those who had Aspergers syndrome to see which factors were more related to a poor or good outcome over time. It was found that language and communication skills were the greatest predictor of good outcome, with social interaction skills being a secondary predictor. The actual Aspergers symptoms like ritual behaviors and obsessions were less likely predictors of outcome. The study indicated that early intervention directed at improving communication was a good idea.
Finally, researchers studied an 8 year followup of a specialized job program for those with Aspergers syndrome to see if such a program helped improve job outcome. For those with Aspergers syndrome (IQ 60+) over an 8 year period, approximately 68 percent of clients found employment. Of the 192 jobs found, most of the jobs were permanent contract work and most involved administrative, technical or computing work. The study indicated that programs like these can be helpful in improving career outcome in Aspergers syndrome individuals.
The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome.