Parents of children with autism often ask their pediatrician, “What will my child’s life be like as an adult?” Particularly in the first two years after high school, young people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face significant barriers to college or employment, according to the study, "Postsecondary Education And Employment Among Youth With An Autism Spectrum Disorder," in the June 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online May 14). Researchers from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis looked at data on postsecondary education and employment for 500 youth with an ASD and compared it with data on youth with other disabilities. 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. This was a higher rate than for youth with other types of disabilities. In addition, youth with ASDs who were from lower income households were more likely to be totally disconnected from work and school opportunities. The authors suggest further research into improved planning for these young people’s transition from high school, including ensuring that services for these students include engagement in activities that prepare them for college or jobs.
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