Mind the Gap: Transportation Challenges for Individuals Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Carolyn Dudley University of Calgary
  • Jennifer D. Zwicker University of Calgary

Abstract

WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE?
An estimated 1 in 86 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)1 making it the most commonly diagnosed childhood neurological condition in Canada.2 Transportation challenges for those with ASD are a growing issue in Canada. People living with ASD3 and others who live with neurodevelopmental disability (NDD)4 rely almost exclusively on public transit and caregivers for transportation. The current transportation options are insufcient in meeting the needs of this population.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH TELL US?
Transportation is essential to promoting quality of life The transit system plays an essential role in improving quality of life for individuals with ASD and for their caregivers. However, problems with cognition, perception and communication are barriers to independence in transportation. Availability of transportation is critical to enable high levels of physical activity among those with intellectual disabilities.5 Safe and reliable transportation improves one’s ability to participate in programs that support quality of life and impacts employment, volunteering, religious participation, exercise, self-advocacy and health care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.6 Caregivers for those with ASD emphasize that transportation is critical to enable meaningful opportunity and community engagement in employment, education, healthcare and social pursuits.7

Published
2016-01-26
Section
Communiqués