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Houston Chronicle calls increase in autism "ALARMING"

Oct 26, 2018, Houston Chronicle: 500,000 teens with autism will become adults in next 10 years. Where will they work? The climb of autism diagnoses is alarming. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upped its estimate to 1 in 59 U.S. births — twice the 2004 rate of 1 in 125. National advocacy group Autism Speaks estimates 500,000 teens with autism will reach adulthood over the next 10 years. About the workers in this story Most of the young adults in this story have high-functioning autism, or what was called Asperger syndrome until the sub-type was folded into the single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in 2013. The descriptions “high functioning” and “low functioning” aren’t clinical but in lay terms describe how severely one is affected. “Aspies” have difficulty with social interactions and a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated movements. Compared with people affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with high-functioning autism do not have significant language delay or cognitive impairment. Some demonstrate precocious vocabulary, often in a highly specialized field of interest. Frequently they live and work independently, with varying degrees of support. Sources: The Autism Society; Autism Speaks Autism and employment in the U.S. Striking numbers: More than half of young adults with autism (58 percent, according to one study) remain unemployed and not enrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. This is a lower rate than that of young adults with a learning disability, intellectual disability or speech-language impairment…. Yet nearly half of 25-year-olds with the disorder have never held a paying job, according to Autism Speaks. Ninety percent of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. Some are too impacted to work once they age out of school-based vocational services by 22. But many who could work face depression and isolation, idle on their parents’ couch, financially dependent on them, government or community organizations. Research shows job activities that encourage independence reduce symptoms and increase daily living skills. Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability. Symptoms typically appear in early childhood and inhibit communication and interaction to varying degrees. Though some of the increase in incidences can be attributed to better diagnosis, the cause remains unknown. There is no cure. …
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