Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 566-574

First online:

Employment and Post-Secondary Educational Activities for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders During the Transition to Adulthood

  • Julie Lounds TaylorAffiliated withVanderbilt Kennedy CenterDepartment of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Email author 
  • , Marsha Mailick SeltzerAffiliated withWaisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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This report describes the post-high school educational and occupational activities for 66 young adults with autism spectrum disorders who had recently exited the secondary school system. 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. Our 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.


Transition to adulthood Employment Post-secondary education Autism spectrum disorders