(HealthDay News) – 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 online May 14 in Pediatrics.
Paul T. Shattuck, PhD, from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed data from a nationally representative survey of young adults with an ASD and their parents or guardians. Rates of postsecondary education and employment were assessed and were compared to rates in youth with speech/language impairment, learning disability, and mental retardation.
The researchers found that 34.7% of youth with an ASD had attended college and 55.1% had held paid employment during the first six years following high school. Of the youth who had left high school in the past two years, more than 50% had no participation in employment or education. Compared with youths in other disability categories, youth with an ASD had the lowest rates of participation in employment and the highest rates of no participation. The adjusted odds of participation in postsecondary employment and education were higher among those with higher income and higher functional ability.
“Youth with an ASD have poor postsecondary employment and education outcomes, especially in the first two years after high school,” the authors conclude.