Post-high school service use among young adults with an autism spectrum disorder

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Feb;165(2):141-6. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.279.


Objectives: To produce nationally representative population estimates of rates of service use among young adults with an autism spectrum disorder during their first few years after leaving high school and to examine correlates of use.

Design: Nationally representative telephone survey from April 2007 to February 2008.

Setting: United States.

Participants: Parents and guardians of young adults with autism spectrum disorders aged 19 to 23 years. Main Exposure Autism spectrum disorder.

Main outcome measures: Use of the following services in the prior 2 years or since leaving high school: mental health services, medical evaluation and assessment, speech therapy, and case management.

Results: Rates of service use ranged from 9.1% for speech therapy to 41.9% for case management; 39.1% of youths with an autism spectrum disorder represented by the survey received no services. The adjusted odds of no services were higher among African American participants and those with low incomes. The adjusted odds of case management were lower among youths with high functional skills and those with low incomes.

Conclusions: Rates of service disengagement are high after exiting high school. Disparities by race and socioeconomic status indicate a need for targeted outreach and services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Speech Therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult