Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Dear Ms. Tanner,
We read with interest your May 14 article, “1 in 3 autistic young adults lack jobs, education,” and appreciate you bringing attention to such an important issue. We particularly appreciate that you cite peer-reviewed research in your article as evidence. Your accurate summary of high unemployment, as well as the future impact of this fact, is exemplified by the personal stories that describe a very real and terrifying prospect for the parents of these young adults.
We would like to enhance your summary that cites that “1 in 3 individuals with an ASD lack jobs.” The authors of the study indicate that the overall rate of employment for individuals with an ASD after high school is only 55% -- a percentage significantly lower than the rates of employment of youth in other special education disability categories (e.g., 68.9% employment for those in the Mental Retardation category). They further identify that 92% of individuals with an ASD that are in school until 21 have no employment participation or vocational training. If the majority of individuals with an ASD are graduating with practically no work experience or training, it is not surprising that their employment rates are so low. This statistic may provide some insight as to why so many of these individuals are not prepared for maintaining any type of employment.
Thank you for bringing such an important issue to light. With an increasing population of adolescents entering the “adult world” in the next decade, your article highlights the current deficit in employment supports and training for individuals with autism.
Toli Anastassiou, MA, BCBA
Media Review Committee, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Bridget Taylor, Psy.D, BCBA-D
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Read More at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/.../