Individuals diagnosed as being autistic often lack the ability to read social cues and interact appropriately in social situations. Categorized as a neuro-developmental disorder that affects how the brain processes information, today an estimated 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed as having autism. While those with autism typically qualify for disability benefits, they face many unique challenges.
Today, one in eight children born in the United States will be diagnosed as having autism. Due to the large number of children being diagnosed each year, there have been great strides made with regard to early intervention programs that offer support and therapy. The same, however, does not hold true for adults with autism.
Many adults with autism grew up knowing they were different, but not why. Often of normal intelligence and classified as being high functioning, for these individuals the inability to effectively or appropriately communicate and engage in social activities often hinders them from obtaining and keeping jobs.
The recent economic downturn has negatively impacted adults living with autism as competition has grown for even low-paying jobs. Autistic individuals typically don’t interview well and are often unable to communicate their applicable work experience. For these reasons, many autistic individuals remain unemployed or underemployed despite being cognitively normal.
There is a great need throughout the country and in states like Pennsylvania for vocational training and rehabilitative services focused on helping autistic adults. Ongoing therapy aimed to improve social interaction and communication skills can go a long way in helping those living with autism succeed.
Source: Press-Citizen, “Adults with autism struggle getting jobs, assistance,” Sujin Kim, Aug. 19, 2012