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A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Releases National Autism Indicators Report for 2017

August 31, 2017

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute recently released its National Autism Indicators Report for 2017, “Developmental Disability Services and Outcomes in Adulthood.” The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute has released these reports since 2015, as part of its Life Course Outcomes Program, to gather “a base of knowledge about things other than clinical interventions that promote positive outcomes for people on the autism spectrum.” The report primarily uses data from the Adult Consumer Survey, which is part of the National Core Indicators series of reports and surveys for people with developmental disabilities.

The National Autism Indicators Report for 2017 focuses on the employment, health, and postsecondary education outcomes of people with autism who used developmental disabilities services during the 2014-2015 survey cycle. According to the report, approximately 78 percent  of funding for developmental disability services came from Medicaid. The report found, among other things, that:

(a) half of all the people with autism surveyed used six or more developmental disability services, although 25 percent were not receiving all the services they needed;

(b) people with autism were more likely to have co-occurring health conditions, but were also likely to be receiving regular doctor’s visits and checkups; and

(c) only 14 percent of all the people with autism using developmental disability services had paid employment in the community, while over half were performing unpaid work or receiving services in a facility or day training setting.

The drafters of the report noted that there is an urgent need for better data on the health, employment, and the life course outcomes of adults with autism. In the “Conclusions and recommendations for future research” section, they express concern about adults who may be eligible for developmental disability services, but who are not receiving them, the lack of data on which services and supports contribute to better employment and life course outcomes for people on the autism spectrum, and the conflicting data available on the health of people with disabilities.

For more information, download the report.