A new study published online today and in the June edition of the journal Pediatrics, highlights the higher education and employment challenges of young adults with autism. Overall, according to the study, they face a greater than 50 percent chance of being unemployed or not attending college when compared to those with other disabilities. Compared with youth in three other disability categories, autistic teens and young adults had significantly lower rates of employment and the highest rates overall of no participation in work or education.
“Many families with children with autism describe leaving high school as falling off a cliff because of the lack of services for adults with autism spectrum disorder,” comments senior study author Paul Shattuck, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Parents are often overwhelmed when their children with autism reach adulthood, as they leave the services of the education system and seek help from the social services system. Many have not adequately prepared, and frustrated by the fragmented approach and limited choices available.
PRIDE Industries was founded 45 years ago by parents facing these same hurdles. Today, employing more than 2,500 individuals with disabilities, we have proven that training and job-related supports can help people with autism and other disabilities to be meaningfully employed. Matching skills to interests, interpreting social situations and learning how to effectively handle interactions on the job can help individuals with autism and other disabilities to be successfully employed.
Early diagnosis and intervention are critical for children with autism. However it is important to remember that autism does not disappear with adolescence and the majority of life is spent in adulthood. At PRIDE, we are committed to making the adult years of individuals with disabilities as independent and fulfilling as possible – by providing an opportunity for something that many take for granted, the chance to be employed.