Young adults with autism lag in school, work

Young adults with autism are less likely to go to college or hold down a job than their peers with other types of disabilities, a new U.S. study finds, Reuters reports. Researchers found that more than one-third of young adults with an autism spectrum disorder had not gotten a job or gone into higher education since high school. And that number was much higher compared with young adults with learning disabilities or other impairments. It’s estimated that about one in 88 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. That’s up 78 percent from a decade ago — which health officials attribute to better diagnosis, as well as broader definitions of what constitutes an ASD. ASDs are a group of developmental brain disorders that hinder a person’s ability to communicate and interact socially — ranging from the severe cases of “classic” autism to the relatively mild form called Asperger’s syndrome. But while rates of ASD diagnoses are shooting up, researchers have not known all that much about how kids with the disorders fare after high school…

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Scientists look to help children with autism find a voice

CNN reports that when Ryan Wallace got a diagnosis of autism at age 2, his parents never thought they’d hear him speak. “He used to make noises. When he wanted something he would just point,” says Ryan’s father, Gerald David Wallace. “Or he would scream.” Therapists say that’s not unusual for someone with Ryan’s condition. According to doctors, many children with autism have difficulty understanding information from the outside world.  “The brain’s ability to process information comes in from the eyes, ears and other senses during infancy,” says Dr. Mark Wallace, an expert on sensory processing who directs the Vanderbilt Brain Institute who is not related to Ryan.”If that [ability] is compromised during the early developmental period, you will never be able to really gain full function in these systems.” Because these children lack the ability to understand this auditory information, it can prevent them from developing any form of language and therefore their ability to communicate. Some stages of autism make it hard for children to comprehend sounds, words, expressions and even inflections…

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