Employment and the Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Adult Consumer Survey

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Another report that offers a glimpse of the landscape of adult life for individuals with ASD focused on the subgroup of individuals with ASD that are eligible for services through the Developmental Disabilities system in their state. Data in this report came from the Adult Consumer Survey (ACS)**. As ASD is a spectrum disorder, some individuals on the spectrum qualify for service and support from a State Developmental Disabilities service agency due to needs that result from a significant level of functional impairment. These individuals generally need some level of support for daily activities, including employment. Not all individuals with ASD would be represented in this group.

** Adult Consumer Survey (ACS) is part of the National Core Indicators (NCI). NCI is a collaborative effort of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services and the Human Services Research Institute.

Add in National Autism Indicators Report Image

National Autism Indicators Report: Developmental Disability Services And Outcomes In Adulthood

Roux, Anne M., Shattuck, Paul T., Rast, Jessica E., Anderson, Kristy A. National Autism Indicators Report: Developmental Disability Services and Outcomes in Adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Life Course Outcomes Research Program, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, 2017.

Graphic Showing Data


Overall, three out of four adults with ASD (72%) in the ACS were participating in some type of work or other day activity – with some adults participating in more than one type of job or activity. However, a closer look provides a clearer picture of what the adult with ASD served by Developmental Disabilities services do during these work or day activities.

  • 28% : Not engaged during the day. Not participating in any community activities.
  • 72%: Participating in work/day activity
    • 32% were in Community based settings
      • 14% Worked in paid jobs. in the community (with or without supports), in settings with people with and without disabilities. Includes individual paid job or a job as part of a work crew with other people with disabilities
      • 22% participated in unpaid activities in the community. Services focus on community involvement outside of work. Example: recreational, educational, or volunteer activities (often referred to as community integration or community participation services)
    • 51% were in Facility based settings
      • 15% Worked in paid jobs in facilities. A setting where the majority of people have a disability and receive continuous job-related supports and supervision. Facility-based work services are also referred to as sheltered work, work activity services, or sheltered workshop
      • 42% participated in unpaid activities in facilities. Facility-based non-work activities are adult training services provided for persons with developmental disabilities (non-integrated) in a facility. Activities sometimes called a ‘day program’ or ‘day services’.

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