Young adults with autism found to have difficulty transitioning into employment

September 5, 2013

A study published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that young adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have more difficulty transitioning into employment than their peers with different disabilities.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2; a longitudinal nationally-representative survey of youth ages 13-16 years as of December 2000 and receiving special education services), a group of researchers led by Dr. Paul Shattuck of Washington University in St. Louis examined the employment outcomes of 620 , ages 21-25 years, who previously received special education services in secondary school under the autism eligibility category. Employment outcomes for young adults with an ASD were compared to outcomes for similar-aged young adults with different disabilities, such as mental retardation, learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, and speech/.

The study found that only half (53%) of young adults with an ASD had ever worked for pay outside the home in the first 8 years following high school, the lowest rate among disability groups even when controlling for impairment severity, , and social demographics. Only 34% were employed at the time of the survey interview. One in five worked full-time with average earnings of $8.10/hour, significantly lower than disability comparison groups. Young adults with an ASD were most frequently employed in office and administrative support occupations and experienced less variation in job types than young adults with other disabilities. Outcomes were better for those who were older, from higher income households, or who had higher functional skills.

Study author, Ms. Anne Roux, said, "The news is mixed. The study confirms low rates of employment for young adults with an ASD using a large, national sample. It highlights the marked difficulty that youth with autism are having during the transition into adulthood compared to their peers with other disabilities. However, we also note that half of young adults with an ASD did work outside the home for pay in the first years after high school, including those with more challenging levels of impairment. This finding provides hope for what might be possible with more effective preparation for employment, transition practices, and workplace supports. Learning about what works to improve is critical given the growing number of youth diagnosed with autism who are entering adulthood."

Explore further: Young adults on the autism spectrum face tough prospects for jobs and independent living

More information: The article "Postsecondary Employment Experiences Among Young Adults With an Autism Spectrum Disorder" by Anne Roux, Paul T. Shattuck, Benjamin P. Cooper, Kristy A. Anderson, Mary Wagner, and Sarah C. Narendorf, (DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.05.019) appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 52, Issue 9 (September 2013)

Related Stories

Young adults on the autism spectrum face tough prospects for jobs and independent living

September 4, 2013
For young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), making the transition from school to the first rites of independent adult life, including a first job and a home away from home, can be particularly challenging.

New study examines social isolation of young adults with autism spectrum disorder

May 2, 2013
Young adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to never see friends, never get called by friends, never be invited to activities and be socially isolated.

Youth with ASD have poor postsecondary outcomes

May 14, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are at high risk for not participating in postsecondary education or employment, particularly in the first two years after high school, according to a study published ...

Youth with autism gravitate toward STEM majors in college—if they get there

November 15, 2012
It's a popularly held belief that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) gravitate toward STEM majors in college (science, technology, engineering mathematics).

Study shows job training results in competitive employment for youth with autism

July 29, 2013
A Virginia Commonwealth University study¹ shows intensive job training benefits youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), one of the most challenging disabilities in the world where only 20 percent find employment. Published ...

New study looks at medication use of kids with ASD, ADHD

February 17, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Many children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can benefit from medication for related disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Recommended for you

Late-breaking mutations may play an important role in autism

July 17, 2017
A study of nearly 6,000 families, combining three genetic sequencing technologies, finds that mutations that occur after conception play an important role in autism. A team led by investigators at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Females with autism show greater difficulty with day-to-day tasks than male counterparts

July 14, 2017
Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with real world planning, organization and other daily living skills, according to a study published in the journal Autism Research.

Researchers investigate possible link between carnitine deficiency and autism

July 13, 2017
Researchers are always looking for new clues to the causes of autism, with special emphasis on prevention or treatment. At Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Beaudet has been following clinical and genetic clues in patients ...

How children look at mom's face is influenced by genetic factors and altered in autism

July 12, 2017
New research has uncovered compelling evidence that genetics plays a major role in how children look at the world and whether they have a preference for gazing at people's eyes and faces or at objects.

Oxytocin improves social abilities in some kids with autism, study finds

July 10, 2017
Children with autism showed improved social behavior when treated with oxytocin, a hormone linked to social abilities, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Children with low ...

Possible early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

June 29, 2017
Measuring a set of proteins in the blood may enable earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study from the Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.