Online Program

Closing the gap: Improving access to education and employment opportunities for young adults with autism

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Nanette Elster, JD, MPH, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics, Loyola University Chicago, northbrook, IL
Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL
Although our focus on meeting the challenge of the current autism "epidemic" has been on young children, a growing challenge is the number of young adults who have an ASD – a number that will only increase in the coming years. According to a recent study in Pediatrics, “[y]oung people with an ASD had the highest risk of being completely disengaged from any kind of postsecondary education or employment.” In this presentation, we plan to describe this challenge and how individuals, organizations and communities are facing this challenge. These programs have existed to help young adults with ASD become equipped with certain job skills (e.g. the PACE program at the National Louis University). Such programs are invaluable for individuals who are higher functioning. We will examine several higher education programs that have been established especially to target the needs of those with ASDs. A number of barriers, however, still exist that prevent young people with an ASD from gaining valuable job and life skills. For instance, children age out of public assistance programs that provide support to millions of individuals. Being a spectrum disorder means that no two people with autism have the same needs or the same skills. The onus must be on our social institutions to identify how the unique skill set of each of those with autism can be channeled into an appropriate and productive job which in turn will promote a more productive life overall.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current challenges facing young adults with autism Explain possible ways to improve educational and employment opportunities for young adults with autism

Keyword(s): Education, Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an associate professor of bioethics and have published in the area of autism spectrum disorders and have spoken on the topic at a national conference.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.