Young Adults With Autism Less Likely to Have Jobs, Live Independently

Young adults with autism are less likely to find work or live on their own than their peers with other kinds of disabilities, two new studies show.

The studies detailed the fates of a national sample of 20-somethings who had received special-education services in high school.

The first study focused on employment. Researchers found that only about half of those with autism had ever held a job since high school, and only about a third were currently working.

Even worse, young adults on the autism spectrum were less likely to be getting a paycheck than people the same age who had other kinds of disabilities. More than 80 percent of those with speech and language difficulties reported having at least one job, for example, while 62 percent of those with intellectual disabilities had ever been employed.

When kids with autism did find work, they made less money. On average, young adults with autism earned $8.10 an hour, while those with other kinds of impairments -- including low IQs, learning disabilities, and trouble speaking and communicating -- were paid between $11 and $12 an hour.

The second study focused on living arrangements. Researchers found that only 17 percent of young adults with autism, who were between 21 and 25 years old, had ever lived on their own.

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