Life in Adulthood
Up to now, we have reviewed the factors that influence the adaptation of children with handicaps while they are growing up. Now, we consider what happens to them as adults. First, longitudinal studies are considered. These studies show that several factors predict whether a child with handicaps adapts successfully as an adult. Then, we consider what living as an adult is like for severely disabled adults and review the factors that determine the quality of adult life in the community. In the past, much of the literature was concerned with residential programs, perhaps because where one sleeps and eats are basic to life. However, in the last 10 years, increasing recognition of how one spends one's day has been apparent in studies of adaptation to work. New programs for supporting adults with handicaps in competitive employment have been the main focus of this new research. A description of these active work programs concludes the chapter and this book.
One might expect that the difficulties that can occur in childhood would signify further difficulties in adulthood. Although this is sometimes true, it is not universal. Variability is once again the central idea in considering outcome of handicaps in children, as it has been with most of the topics considered up to now (Baker & Cantwell, 1987b). Many children with