U.S. Population Of Adults With ASDs Growing, But Not Employed
White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) October 23, 2012 - According to a recent study from the journal Pediatrics, a mere 55 percent of adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) had found employment six years after graduating from high school.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 88 children is diagnosed with ASD. ASD can include a range of issues, from Asperger's syndrome to other complex social interaction, communication and behavioral issues. It is estimated that in the next decade, roughly one-half million Americans diagnosed somewhere on the ASD spectrum will be entering adulthood, but not all of them will be entering the workforce.
There have been some studies looking at the employment of adults with ASD; the largest study conducted in the U.S. was comprised of 1,700 autistic adults in the U.S. who were part of "vocational rehabilitation" services. But, while there are job placement programs to help young adults with ASD find employment, there are few studies to show if they stay employed.
Most studies focus on children with ASD, rather than adults, and how they fare in the workforce. And support tends to fall away for more "normatively functioning" adults, such as those with Asperger's, when the disability is often perceived to be one of social interaction issues, typically not covered by vocational training.
In a recent study, an Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Paul Shattuck, found that of 680 U.S. adults with ASD, 35 percent of them had not pursued higher education or been employed since high school, compared to 25 percent of individuals with mental retardation, and 7 percent of young adults with speech or language impairments.
The number of children and young adults diagnosed with some form of ASD is up 78 percent from just a decade ago. Health officials say the increase is due in part to better diagnostic tools, and a broadened definition of what encompasses an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorders are developmental brain disorders with still-unclear origins. ASDs hinder an individual's ability to communicate and interact socially. An ASD may be severe – commonly known as "classic" autism – and runs the spectrum down to a relatively mild social interactive disorder known as Asperger's syndrome.
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Maria M. Brill
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