Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Shattuck, P. T., Narendorf, S. C., Cooper, B., Sterling, P. R., Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. L. (2012). Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 129 1042–1049.
Title:  Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder
Authors:  Shattuck, P. T., Narendorf, S. C., Cooper, B., Sterling, P. R., Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. L.
Year:  2012
Journal/Publication:  Pediatrics
Publisher:  American Academy of Pediatrics
Full text:  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/6/1042    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Previous research has identified low rates of employment and postsecondary education for youth with autism, but generalizability has been limited by small samples.
Purpose:  The study examined the prevalence and correlates of postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participation in postsecondary employment, college, or vocational education and lack of participation in any of these activities were examined.
Study sample:  Data were from a nationally representative survey of parents, guardians, and young adults with an ASD.
Control or comparison condition:  Rates were compared with those of youth in 3 other eligibility categories: speech/ language impairment, learning disability, and mental retardation.
Data collection and analysis:  Logistic regression was used to examine correlates of each outcome.
Findings:  For youth with an ASD, 34.7% had attended college and 55.1% had held paid employment during the first 6 years after high school. More than 50% of youth who had left high school in the past 2 years had no participation in employment or education. Youth with an ASD had the lowest rates of participation in employment and the highest rates of no participation compared with youth in other disability categories. Higher income and higher functional ability were associated with higher adjusted odds of participation in postsecondary employment and education.
Conclusions:  Youth with an ASD have poor postsecondary employment and education outcomes, especially in the first 2 years after high school. Those from lower-income families and those with greater functional impairments are at heightened risk for poor outcomes. Further research is needed to understand how transition planning before high school exit can facilitate a better connection to productive postsecondary activities.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Developmental disabilities
Learning disabilities
Speech or language impairment
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)