Young Adults With Autism Have a Harder Time with Jobs and Independent Living

These days, it’s hard enough finding a job as a non-autistic young adult.  Two newly published studies show how hard it is for young adults on the autism spectrum to find employment, compared to their peers with other types of disabilities.


“Not only was the employment rate low for young people with ASDs when compared with young adults with disabilities, but pay for jobs—if they got them—was significantly lower compared to young adults with other types of disabilities,” said Anne M. Roux, senior research coordinator at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.


Just over half of the young adults on the autism spectrum have ever worked for pay outside the home within the first eight years after graduating from high school.  Only about one in five young adults with ASDs worked full-time at a current or most-recent job; the average pay was $8.10 per hour.


Employment rates, full-time employment status and average pay were substantially higher for young adults with other disabilities, including learning disabilities, emotional disturbance and speech/language impairment.  The employment gap widened even farther when adjusted for differences in functional skills and conversational ability.


In another study published this week in Autism, members of Dr. Paul Shattuck’s research team report that young adults on the autism spectrum are less likely to have ever lived independently after high school than adults with other disabilities.

“Many families tell us it’s like driving off a cliff when their child with autism exits high school because there just aren’t many options once they enter adulthood,” Shattuck said. “Our work highlights the enormous challenges facing this vulnerable population and their families. Experimenting with innovative solutions that can help these youth is a top priority at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.”


ICare4Autism understands these challenges adults with autism face while trying to find and maintain employment. Our solution to this problem is our Global Autism Workforce Initiative, the first of its kind. By collaborating with major workforce entities globally, we will develop the best practices in workforce development and effective transition plans for people with autism. In addition, we are developing an international workforce advisory board to aid in this mission. To learn more about this initiative, click here.



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