How do you find a job in Sacramento if you have been diagnosed with autism? Roughly 50,000 youth in the nation with autism will turn 18 years old this year. Who's hiring them to do what jobs? If you work with children diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum, you could check out the local Indeed.com site, "Autism Jobs, Employment in Sacramento, CA." But what if you have autism and you want a job that pays more than the national average earnings of an individual diagnosed with autism which is $8.10 an hour? On that income, how do you maintain your general health and support yourself independently?
Some people diagnosed with autism have university degrees. See, "Autistic Kids Learn To Survive, And Thrive, In College: NPR." Also you may wish to check out, "The Parents Guide To College For Students On The Autism Spectrum" and "College Autism Project - US Autism and Asperger Association."
The Sacramento site shows job openings for people who work with those on the austism spectrum, for example, "Instructional Assistant for children diagnosed with Autism." There are jobs at most levels from assistants to instructors and other occupations working with those with autism diagnoses such as: Behavior Interventionist in Sacramento, Pre-School Teacher, Autism, in Sacramento, Program Supervisor, Education Specialist K - 12, Office Coordinator in Sacramento, Education Specialist, Tutor/Paraprofessional, Behavior Consultant (Master's Level) - Capitol Autism Services, Therapist, Social Skills Behavior Intern, California SLP School Job, or Behavior Technician (Bay Area).
These types of jobs are for people working with or working for organizations that help, tutor, teach, or offer services to those with autism, particularly children. So where do you go to get a job in Sacramento if you're diagnosed with autism at any level on the spectrum? The problem is that young adults on the autism spectrum face tough prospects for jobs and independent living, whether they live in Sacramento or anywhere else in the nation.
For young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), making the transition from school to the first rites of independent adult life, including a first job and a home away from home, can be particularly challenging. Two newly published studies show precisely how stark the situation is for finding success in employment and independent living among young adults on the autism spectrum, compared to their peers with other types of disabilities. The researchers emphasize the need to strengthen services to help adolescents and young adults and their families with transition planning.
Two new reports on a large, nationally representative sample show outcomes in employment and residential status are worse for young adults with ASDs than for those with other disabilities.
"Roughly 50,000 youth with autism will turn 18 years old this year," explains Dr. Paul T. Shattuck, an associate professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and Drexel University School of Public Health, who co-authored both studies, according to the September 4, 2013 news release, Young adults on the autism spectrum face tough prospects for jobs and independent living. "So many of these young people have the potential to work and participate in their communities. Supporting this potential will benefit everyone -- the person with autism, the family, employers and society."
In the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Shattuck's team reports that young adults with autism spectrum disorders have worse employment outcomes in the first few years after high school than do peers who have other types of disabilities. If you're blind or deaf, you look for companies hiring people with skills who are blind or deaf or both. If you're in a wheelchair, you look for organizations hiring people who arrive at work in wheelchairs in the field of work that uses your set of skills.
Employment Outlook: Just Over Half with ASDs Had Ever Worked for Pay
"Not only was the employment rate low for young people with ASDs when compared with young adults with other disabilities, but pay for jobs -- if they got them -- was significantly lower compared to young adults with other types of disabilities," says Anne M. Roux, senior research coordinator at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, who led the employment study as a member of Shattuck's research team while both were at Washington University in St. Louis, according to the September 4, 2013 news release, Young adults on the autism spectrum face tough prospects for jobs and independent living.
They report that just over half (53.4 percent) of the young adults on the autism spectrum they surveyed had ever worked for pay outside the home within the first eight years after leaving high school. Only about one in five (20.9 percent) young adults with ASDs worked full-time at a current or most-recent job. Average pay was $8.10 per hour.
Employment rates, full-time employment status and average pay were substantially higher for young adults with other disabilities, including learning disabilities, emotional disturbance and speech/language impairment, compared to young adults with ASDs. The employment gap widened even farther when adjusted for differences in functional skills and conversational ability.
Why are autistic young adults earning an average of $8.10 per hour?
"The news is mixed," Roux says in the news release. "This study highlights the particular difficulty that youth with autism are having during the transition into adulthood, especially youth from poorer households who are more likely to be disengaged from the services needed to secure and maintain a job.
"At the same time, half of young adults with an ASD did become employed, including youth with more challenging levels of impairment. This finding gives us hope for what might be possible with more effective preparation for employment, transition practices and workplace supports."
In an independent editorial in the same journal issue, Dr. Patricia Howlin of King's College London and the University of Sydney, wrote, "if young adults with autism miss out on this rite of passage, they risk transition into a world of social exclusion, financial hardship and significantly decreased quality of life. On the positive side, there is evidence that specialized, supported employment programs can be very helpful in assisting young people into work and in improving quality of life and even cognitive performance."
Residential Status: Young Adults with ASD Less Likely to Live Independently
In another study published this week in the journal Autism, members of Shattuck's research team report that young adults on the autism spectrum are less likely to have ever lived independently after high school, than adults with other disabilities. So much said for young adults.
What happens when an older person with an autistic diagnosis starts to look for a job after years of being underpaid or of not working at all? When an older adult's parents or caregivers are gone, how does the person live independently and hold a job or run a business, even a one-person online at home computer-based business and earn enough to pay independent living expenses?
"This paper suggests that the years following high school are markedly different for young adults with ASDs compared to other disability categories," explains Kristy A. Anderson, in the news release. Anderson is a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the residential status study. "Notably, young adults on the autism spectrum have higher rates of coresidency in the parental home."
Young adults on the autism spectrum were less likely to have ever lived independently since leaving high school, compared to their peers with other disabilities
More young adults with autism lived with their parents or guardians, and for longer periods of time, than did individuals with emotional disturbance, learning disability or intellectual disability. They also had the highest rates of living in a supervised living arrangement. Young adults with an ASD also experienced the highest rates of postsecondary residential continuity (79.1 percent).
"They are residing in the parental home at higher rates and longer time periods relative to peers with other disabilities, warranting family-based services in the years following high school exit," Anderson says in the news release. Despite the concurrent study on employment, the researchers found no association between having held a paying job and residential outcomes among young adults on the autism spectrum.
Long-Term Research Targets the Autism Services Cliff for Adolescents
The analyses of employment and residential status were both products of Shattuck's widely recognized research program examining outcomes and service use among adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. The needs of this age group are largely under-represented in research, even as many individuals diagnosed in childhood face a decline in available social services after they age out of the educational system.
The project involves long-term follow-up study on the outcomes of a large, nationally representative sample of young adults (National Longitudinal Transition Study -- 2). All of the participants were initially enrolled while receiving special education services in school; they or their parents completed regular follow-up surveys for up to 10 years after the student had completed high school.
"Many families tell us it's like driving off a cliff when their child with autism exits high school because there just aren't many options once they enter adulthood," Shattuck explains in the news release. "Our work highlights the enormous challenges facing this vulnerable population and their families. Experimenting with innovative solutions that can help these youth is a top priority at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute."
Check out the Employment paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Or see the related site, an independent editorial in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. You also may wish to read the residential status paper in the journal Autism.