The research of Marsha Mailick Seltzer, PhD, was recently cited by Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D., as part of a review of major scientific advances in autism research in 2010. Seltzer is the director of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vaughan Bascom and Elizabeth M. Boggs Professor.
In 2000, Seltzer and Jan Greenberg, PhD, began a longitudinal study of over 400 families of people with an autism spectrum disorder who live in Wisconsin or Massachusetts. The primary purpose of the study is to examine the lives of adolescents and adults an ASD and the impact on the family of the challenges of coping with a family member with this diagnosis.
Seltzer and her former postdoc Julie Lounds Taylor (now an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University) reported that the transition from high school can be particularly difficult for people with ASD without an intellectual disability, who often lacked structured daytime activities, including employment. They stressed that our current service system is especially inadequate to meet the needs of youths with ASD who do not have an intellectual disability. In another study, Seltzer, Greenberg, and former postdoc Anna Esbensen (now at the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center) reported that, compared to adults with other disabilities, adults with ASD have more unmet service needs and received fewer services. As the population of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder continues to expand, there is an urgent need for research into understanding and meeting the needs of adults with autism and their families.