Letter to the Editor
Cherry Hill, NJ – April is Autism Awareness Month, and across the state, groups and organizations are doing what they can to raise awareness. In March, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation: one in 45 children is diagnosed with autism; and one in 28 boys.
While there has been a lot of emphasis on early diagnosis, there are generations of teens and young adults with autism now leaving high school. The good news is that, increasingly, business leaders are recognizing the gifts and talents of employees with autism; and colleges are opening their doors to those on the autism spectrum, seeing the potential in those who think differently.
But coming of age with autism has unique challenges. In spite of their apparent abilities, young adults across the full spectrum of autism are likely to need on-going education and support in order to continue their journey toward independence. The developmental aspects of autism, especially the disparities in social and organizational skills, do not disappear in a student’s senior year. Educators must begin to look beyond the diploma, and do more to ensure that these young people have the tools and strategies they need to make the leap into the complex world they will enter when they leave school.
Assistant Director/The YALE School