As autistic children grow into adults, they face more challenges than their peers who are not on the autism spectrum. About 50,000 youths with autism will become adults this year, and for most, finding a job and a place to live will bring a set of struggles. Although we’ve made progress with autism treatment in our society, there is still much more we can do to help these young adults be more independent.
Two newly published studies on the subject shed some light on how far we have to go in helping autistic teens transition into independent adults. In the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, it was reported that young people with autism have worse employment outcomes in the first few years after high school than people their age with other disabilities. Just over half of young adults on the autism spectrum that were surveyed had ever worked for pay the first eight years after high school.
Autistic adults have a lot to offer the world. More focus is needed on creating programs to help people on the autism spectrum succeed in adulthood. But for best results, treatment with an autism specialist should start as soon as they are diagnosed.