Youths with autism struggle with employment, education opportunities post-high school

Youths with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) face substantial barriers to work and educational opportunities after high school, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

“Thirty-five percent of the youth with ASDs had no engagement with employment or education in the first six years after high school,” said study leader Paul Shattuck. “Rates of involvement in all employment and education were lower for those with lower income.”

The study used data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2, a nine-year study of adolescents enrolled in special education. The study included adolescents with ASDs, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities and speech and language impairments.

“Compared with youth in the three other disability categories, those with an ASD had significantly lower rates of employment and the highest overall rates of no participation in any work or education whatsoever,” Shattuck said. “Those with an ASD had a greater than 50 percent chance of being unemployed and disengaged from higher education for the first two years after high school.”

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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