Autisme: Education and employment status of adults with autism spectrum disorders in Germany - a cross-sectional-survey.
Education and employment status of adults with autism spectrum disorders in Germany - a cross-sectional-survey.
Frank F1,2, Jablotschkin M3,4, Arthen T3, Riedel A3, Fangmeier T3, Hölzel LP3,5, Tebartz van Elst L3.
Adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience challenges in participating in the labour market and struggle to achieve and maintain appropriate professional positions, possibly due to impairments of communication and social interaction. Studies have shown high rates of unemployment as well as evidence of inadequate employment. As knowledge on the participation in the German labour market is scarce, the aim of our study was to examine employment status, type of occupation and inadequate employment in a sample of clinically mostly late-diagnosed and most likely not intellectually disabled adults with ASD in Germany.
We conducted a cross-sectional-survey in clinically mostly late-diagnosed adults with ASD. Employment status, type of occupation, and the level of formal education and training were examined through a postal questionnaire. Inadequate employment regarding participants' current and longest practised occupation was assessed by transforming participants' information into skill levels of the "Classification of Occupations 2010" of the German Federal Employment Agency, and comparing these with participants' level of formal education and training.
The response rate was 43.2% (N = 185 of N = 428 potential participants). 94.6% were first-time diagnosed when being 18 years of age or older. 56.8% held a general university entrance-level qualification and 24.9% had obtained a Masters' or diploma degree as their highest vocational qualification. 94.1% had been employed at some time. Of these, 68.4% reported being currently employed, 13.5% being currently unemployed and 17.0% being retired for health reasons. Regarding the longest-practised and the current occupation, the highest proportion of participants was found in the occupational area "health and social sector, teaching and education" (22.4% and 23.3%, respectively). With respect to inadequate employment, 22.1% were found to be overeducated in relation to their longest-practised occupation and 31.3% in relation to their current occupation. This is significantly higher than the percentage of overeducation in the general population.
Despite largely high formal qualifications, the clinically mostly late-diagnosed adults with ASD represented in our sample are disadvantaged regarding their participation in the German labour market, especially with respect to rates of unemployment, early retirement and overeducation. Employment support programs should be developed to improve employment outcomes.
Adults; Asperger syndrome; Autism; Education; Employment; High functioning