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Youth with autism gravitate toward STEM majors in college -- if they get there
Date:11/15/2012

ost likely to chosen by students with an ASD.

But the study also learned that young adults with ASD have one of the lowest overall college enrollment rates when compared with students in other disability categories. Factors such as gender, family income and ability to carry on a conversation played a role in whether or not the individual with ASD attended college.

"Clearly, only a subset of youth with autism will head to college after high school," Shattuck says. "A low family income puts these young people at a disadvantage even if they are cognitively capable. We need to get better at connecting students with financial aid to help them achieve their highest potential and be contributing members of society." The study says the tide may be turning. Advances in early identification and treatment of ASDs are likely to increase college enrollment rates, and with it increased participation in STEM majors.

"More and more children are being identified as having autism," Shattuck says, "children who grow up to be adults. With the majority of a typical lifespan spent in adulthood, that phase of life is the one we know least about when it comes to autism spectrum disorders.

"This study is the latest addition to a growing body of evidence we are building here at the Brown School about the needs, strengths and challenges facing this vulnerable population," Shattuck says.


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Contact: Leslie McCarthy
leslie_mccarthy@wustl.edu
314-935-6603
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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