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Monday, November 18, 2013

Study Suggests Community Colleges Provide Advantages for Young Adultswith Autism

New research finds community colleges may play a particularly important role in fostering transition into productive lives for individuals on the autism spectrum. The findings appear this week in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. About one-third of all young adults with autism attend college in the years right after high school. The study analyzed attendance and graduation information on nearly 200 of them, using the National Longitudinal Transition Study for 2001 to 2009. Of those who had graduated or were still in college when the study ended, 81 percent had spent at least some time in a 2-year community college. What’s more, nearly half of students with autism who majored in science, technology, engineering or math in community college successfully transitioned to a four-year university. This was true of around a quarter of the students with autism who were majoring in non-science/tech fields. College students with autism who went straight into a 4-year college from high school did less well. Less than 20 percent had graduated or were on track to graduate when the study ended. The findings provide strong evidence that community colleges are an important pathway for many students with autism, says co-author Paul Shattuck. Dr. Shattuck studies life-course outcomes at Drexel University’s AJ Drexel Autism Center, in Philadelphia.

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