The Interest of Adolescents with Autism in Future Careers Involving Technology

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 12, 2018: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)


Background: In the US, students with autism have some of the poorest post-school outcomes of any disability category, according to the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2. Finding opportunities to match their skills and interests to sustainable employment is a priority. It has been reported that many individuals with autism are attracted to technology, in particular screen-based technology, especially for entertainment. For most young people, their interests often lead to future careers. Since careers involving technology skills are in high demand, technology-related careers hold promise for improving the adult outcomes for students with autism. However, little is known about this subject.

Objectives: The primary purpose of this study was to understand what interest adolescents with autism have in a future career using technology. Also, to understand specifically which areas involving technology they are interested to pursue in higher education.

Methods: This study used a paper survey with 275 high school students with autism from 30 high schools spread across 3 states in the US. The majority of participants are male (87%), white (72%), without ID (93%), and on track to graduate high school with a regular diploma (100%).

Results: Student survey participants were asked about their interest in using technology in their future. The majority (75%) said they would like to have a job using technology. Most are considering going to college (96%) and 65% would like to study a technology-related subject in college. Video game design was the most popular technology related subject followed by computer science, engineering, and web design.

Conclusions: Cultivating student interest in technology early during middle and high school might help to ensure fulfilling their future interest in studying technology-related subjects at university and working in occupations using technology.