Times are tough for young people. Unemployment is high, and college costs are soaring.
For those who've been diagnosed with autism, the challenges of life after high school are even steeper, according to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics.
Within the first six years of getting out of high school, only a little more than one-third of young people previously diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, had gone to college, and only a slim majority — 55 percent — had held paying jobs.
The first two years after high school are particularly hard, the researchers found, with less than half of the young people with an ASD having had any work.
The researchers compared the experience of the young people with autism to those with mental retardation, learning disabilities and impaired language or speech. Those with autism fared worse than the others when it came to jobs, the researchers found.
On the college front, those with autism were more likely than those with mental retardation to have attended some college but less like to have done so than those in the other two comparison groups.
An interview with Washington University's Paul Shattuck, lead author of the study: