Why is there a need for The Autism Platform Project?
- Nearly 500,000 individuals with autism will reach an employable age within the next 10 years (Markel & Elia, 2016). Yet, the group maintains astronomically high unemployment rates.
- Unemployment is over 85% (Griffiths, Giannantonio, Hurley-Hanson, & Cardinal, 2016).
- The minority of individuals with autism who are employed are underemployed due to misalignment of strengths with duties. “I feel like everybody does have a niche, but I feel like finding it is so difficult sometimes and it can be disheartening to look” (study participant) (Ortiz, 2018, p. 30).
- The associated costs with supporting an individual with autism, over a lifetime, can range from $1.4 million to $2.4 million (Feliciano et al., 2018).
- Anxiety and depression are high and can present with greater severity within the population. “If you fold into yourself too much, it can create suicidal ideations and this is not just for autistic people, but it’s for everybody. It’s a very isolated feeling” (study participant) (Ortiz, 2018, p. 55).
- Stigmatization of neurodevelopment differences such as autism creates barriers to meaningful employment, as perceived impairments are unseen, thus creating increased employer uncertainty in engaging young autistic adults (Johnson & Joshi, 2016).
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