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Article  January 1, 2015

Transition to Adulthood: Employment, Education, and Disengagement in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

SRI Authors Xin Wei, Jennifer W. Yu



Wei, X., Wagner, M., Hudson, L., Yu, J. W., & Shattuck, P. (2015). Transition to adulthood: Employment, education, and disengagement in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Emerging Adulthood, 3(1), 37-45. doi:10.1177/2167696814534417


Relatively little is known about the pathways youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) take in the transition to adulthood in terms of employment and postsecondary education (PSE). Applying life course sequence analysis to a nationally representative sample of youth with ASDs (N = 120), this study clustered various longitudinal sequences into three typical transition groups in the 6 years after high school exit: primarily focused on PSE (57.4%), continuously or increasingly disengaged (i.e., not employed nor in PSE, 29.0%), and primarily focused on employment (13.6%). All three groups experienced unique struggles in the transition to adulthood. We found variations in disproportionate transition patterns by gender, family income, functional cognitive skills, and conversational skills. Policy implications are discussed.

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