Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Taylor, J.L., & Seltzer, M.M. (2011). Employment and post-secondary educational activities for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders during the transition to adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41 (5), 566-574.
Title:  Employment and post-secondary educational activities for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders during the transition to adulthood
Authors:  Taylor, J.L., & Seltzer, M.M.
Year:  2011
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher:  Springer International Publishing AG
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1070-3
Full text:  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-010-1070-3    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Previous research on post-high school activities for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have shown that individual characteristics and ASD symptoms (with and without ID) are highly associated with postsecondary occupational and employment activities. Based upon previous findings, this study provided a rich description of the occupational and day activities for a group of young adults with ASD who had exited high school within the past 5 years, and examined whether having an intellectual disability was related to the type of employment or day activity.
Purpose:  The study had three research aims. First, it provided a rich description of the occupational and day activities for a group of young adults with ASD who had exited high school within the past 5 years. Second, it examined whether having an intellectual disability was related to the type of employment or day activity. They hypothesized that youths with ASD without ID would be more likely to have post-high school activities that required high levels of independence, such as competitive employment or a post-secondary degree-seeking educational program, rel- ative to those with ID; they also hypothesized that there would be a subgroup of young adults with ASD without ID who would have limited day activities. The third aim examined the relations between type of employment or day activity and family income as well as the behavioral functioning of the young adults with ASD. They hypothesized that youths with ASD who were participating in day activities that required few supports would exhibit fewer autism symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, and comorbid psychiatric diagnoses and higher levels of functional independence. It further hypothesized that youths with ASD who had limited day activities would have families with lower incomes (reflecting barriers in accessing services).
Setting:  N/A
Study sample:  The present analysis used a subsample (n = 66) of young adults with ASD drawn from our larger longitudinal study of families of adolescents and adults with ASD (N = 406). The criteria for inclusion in the larger study were that the son or daughter with ASD was age 10 or older,had received an ASD diagnosis (autistic disorder, Asperger disorder, or pervasive devel- opmental disorder) from an independent educational or health professional, and had a researcher-administered Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised profile consistent with the diagnosis.
Intervention:  N/A
Control or comparison condition:  N/A
Data collection and analysis:  Data were collective on the status of comorbid Intellectual Disability, family income, autism symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, functional independence, comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, as well as the participantsā€˜ occupational activities. One-way ANOVAs and chi-square tests were conducted to examine whether there were differences in family income, autism symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, functional independence, or percentage with a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis based on the employment/day activity categories.
Findings:  Statistically significant group differences emerged for three of the variables: autism symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, and functional independence. Analyses indicated low rates of employment in the community, with the majority of young adults (56%) spending time in sheltered workshops or day activity centers. Young adults with ASD without an intellectual disability were three times more likely to have no daytime activities compared to adults with ASD who had an intellectual disability. Differences in behavioral functioning were observed by employment/day activity group.
Conclusions:  The findings suggest that the current service system may be inadequate to accommodate the needs of youths with ASD who do not have intellectual disabilities during the transition to adulthood.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment
Part-time employment