Posted on April 1st, 2015 by Beth Finke
A proclamation on the United Nation’s website estimates that more than 80% of adults with autism around the world are unemployed. The site also lists a number of hurdles that keep that number so high:
- a shortage of vocational training
- inadequate support with job placement
- pervasive discrimination.
The United Nations World Autism Awareness Day is tomorrow, April 2, 2015, and with that high unemployment rate in mind, this year the theme for the day is “Employment: The Autism Advantage.”
Here at Easter Seals, the one consistent message we hear from families — after the initial apprehension and anxiety of learning their child has autism – is an overwhelming concern about the life-long supports their child with autism may need to be independent.
Our 2008 Living with Autism Study results revealed that parents raising children with autism were very concerned about the future independence of their children. In fact, they were far more concerned than parents of typically developing children — nearly 80 percent said they were extremely or very concerned about their children’s independence as an adult, compared to only 32 percent of other parents. This was especially true when it came to their child’s financial independence, quality of life, social and inter-personal connections, and employment and housing opportunities. While this study was released in 2008, the sentiments probably aren’t that much different today, especially given the 80% unemployment statistic.
Easter Seals continues to use the study results to raise awareness of and advocate for the life-long services millions of families living with autism desperately need — including school-to-work transitions, employment support, residential and community support, and financial planning. In addition, Easter Seals works with businesses to provide resources for employers to support workforce development.
We applaud the United Nations for dedicating a day to autism awareness, and we’ll continue working every day to remind people that individuals with autism deserve to experience life to the fullest.