Improving Transition Outcomes: Lessons Learned from Autism

Few adults with Fragile X syndrome meet normative expectations in education, employment, peer relations, self-care, and their place of residence. Limited independence can create financial and psychological challenges for families and, importantly, limit the opportunities for community participation and lower the quality of life for adults with FXS.

This presentation presents research-based information on the factors that promote or hinder the transition to independence of young adults with FXS after completion of high school and formal education. We also solicit input from audience members about their experiences around the transition out of high school.

Runtime: 59:52

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About the Panelists

Leonard Abbeduto, PhD

Professor & Director, UC Davis MIND Institute

Leonard Abbeduto is a professor and director at UC Davis MIND Institute. He is also the holder of the Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis. He earned his master’s in psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1982 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Center of Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Abbeduto’s research is focused broadly on the development of language across the lifespan in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and on the family context for language development. He serves as principal investigator and director of the NICHD-funded UC Davis MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center.

Dr. Abbeduto has received numerous awards, including the Enid and William Rosen Research Award from the National Fragile X Foundation and the Edgard Doll Award for Distinguished Research Contribution from Division 33 of the American Psychological Association.

Jessica Klusek, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor, University of South Carolina

Jessica Klusek is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Klusek received her doctoral degree in speech and hearing sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She followed her doctoral training with an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in psychology at the University of South Carolina where she completed interdisciplinary training in physiology, psychology, and genetics. Dr. Klusek is also a certified speech-language pathologist.

Angie Thurman

UC Davis MIND Institute

Angie Thurman’s research at the UC Davis MIND Institute focuses on characterizing the dynamic processes underlying the development of language and other skills in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and Williams syndrome. Because development stems from a continuous interplay of multiple influences across time, unpacking the influences of the behavioral phenotypes (areas of strength and challenge) in neurodevelopmental disorders provides insight into the factors supporting and impeding development and how this differs across neurodevelopmental disorders.

Julie Lounds Taylor, PhD

Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Julie Taylor is an associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. She received her master’s in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in lifespan family research at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on understanding the factors that promote positive outcomes for adults with autism and their families, particularly during the transition to adulthood. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, Autism Speaks, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the FAR fund. She was the 2014 recipient of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Early Career Award, is an associate editor for Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, and is a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

Additional Resources

Adulthood & Fragile X Syndrome
Find treatment recommendations, downloadable info sheets, articles, webinars, and more for adulthood and Fragile X syndrome. Challenges faced by adults with FXS — and their caregivers — may include cognitive, learning, communication, and physical and medical issues. Difficulties in adulthood often begin with the transition from adolescence into adulthood and continue throughout their lives. As they age, common issues families face include housing, employment, and transportation. However, with support and intervention strategies, adults with Fragile X syndrome can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.