For young adults with autism, making the transition from school to independent adult life can be precarious. A new study shows how difficult the situation is for young adults with autism to find good employment and independent living options compared to their peers with other disabilities. “Roughly 50,000 youth with autism will turn 18 years old this year,” explained Dr. Paul T. Shattuck, an associate professor in the AJ Drexel Autism Institute and Drexel University School of Public Health. “So many of these young people have the potential to work and participate in their communities. Supporting this potential will benefit everyone – the person with autism, the family, employers and society.”
Worst employment outcomes for these young adults
Dr. Shattuck’s team reports that young adults with autism have worse employment outcomes in the first few years out of high school than do peers who have other types of disabilities. “Not only was the employment rate low for young people with ASDs when compared with young adults with other disabilities, but pay for jobs – if they got them – was significantly lower compared to young adults with other types of disabilities,” noted Anne M. Roux, senior research coordinator who led the employment study as a member of Shattuck’s team.
The transition to independent adulthood is challenging
Only about 53% of these young adults find employment outside the home within the first eight years after leaving school. Only 20% have a full time job and the average pay is $8 per hour. “This study highlights the particular difficulty that youth with autism are having during the transition into adulthood, especially youth from poorer households who are more likely to be disengaged from the services needed to secure and maintain a job. At the same time, half of young adults with an ASD did become employed, including youth with more challenging levels of impairment. This finding gives us hope for what might be possible with more effective preparation for employment, transition practices and workplace supports.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry