The number of Autistic teenagers entering a high school setting is growing, expanding their range of opportunities when they reach an adult age. Scientists at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) have stated that teens with Autism disorders may learn under the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will improve their possibilities of attaining a college-level education, as well as opening doors for employment.
Currently, the rate of college-enrollment among teenagers with Autism is among the lowest of all disabilities. Furthermore, less than 40% of Autistic adults have been employed, with an even smaller percentage holding full-time positions. Therefore, a solid high-school education could serve as the foundation for higher education, as well as a lifetime of more opportunities for Autistic individuals.
With thoroughly-planned strategies, specific instruction, and additional support, Autistic teens may be capable of learning material that is on a similar level to the state standard. Academic performance in high school is critical in how many doors open for individuals after they graduate. Therefore, high schools will need to tailor a specific way of instructing the complex profile of each individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), enabling students to better understand material in their own way. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses – some process language more slowly, but may be able to process things visually much more quickly. Some individuals have trouble with doing calculations, while others are very mathematically gifted.
Veronica P. Fleury, author and postdoctoral research associate with FPG’s Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD, has stated that work in science, technology, engineering, and math, may provide excellent opportunities for many young Autistic adults. In recent years, many individuals with ASD that have attended college-level institutions have gravitated towards these particular fields as their majors, highlighting the need for a focus on these topics at the high school level.
Although the demands of a high school education can be quite challenging for these individuals, establishing routines and implementing a sturdy schedule will improve their ability to understand the dynamic of a classroom and the importance of achieving goals. Fleury and her co-authors have recommended other strategies to effectively teach students with ASD, including the thorough explanation of assignments before they are presented in class. According to Fleury, “When students with autism receive appropriate instruction and supports, many of them are capable of learning academic content that is aligned with state standards. And better academic performance often leads to a more successful outcome after high school.”
The ICare4Autism International Conference will be discussing the Global Autism Workforce Initiative on June 30th in NYC. For more information and tickets to the conference, please click here.