Autistic Young Adults Lack Jobs, Education
Employment prospects are dim for young adults with autism. Seven years after high school graduation, 35 percent will still have no paid employment experience or higher education, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics. That's higher than adults with other disabilities, including those who are mentally disabled. And it's particularly troubling because more than 500,000 kids with autism will reach adulthood within the next 10 years. "There is this wave of young children who have been diagnosed with autism who are aging toward adulthood," study author Paul Shattuck, an assistant professor at Washington University's Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, told the Associated Press. "We're kind of setting ourselves up for a scary situation if we don't think about that and how we're going to help these folks and their families." People with autism may not be able to hold down a job because they have trouble socializing, which affects their ability to read social cues, deal with the public, and get along with their coworkers. Specialized job training programs and instruction in social cues could ease the transition into adulthood for autistic teens, the study authors suggest.
Signs Your Child Could Have Autism
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that one in every 88 children has autism—up from one in 156 in 2002—you might be wondering how to recognize the signs and symptoms of the developmental disorder.
While it's not clear what's driving the uptick in prevalence, and the precise causes of autism are still unknown, experts are calling for earlier diagnosis. "We have to get this down to 18 months of age to truly have the greatest impact," says Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. Doctors have gotten better at identifying autism symptoms in younger children—four is the average age of diagnosis—but "four years old is still too late," he says. Frieden stresses that the earlier a child is identified with autism, the more likely it is that behavioral intervention will make the disability more manageable. Parents may be able to spot symptoms of autism before a child's first birthday, says Coleen Boyle, who heads up the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "Parents know their child best, but if they do have concerns, the important thing is not to wait [to seek help]," she says. Susan Hyman, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics subcommittee on autism, strongly recommends having children screened by a child development specialist at 18, 24, and 30 months. [Read more: Signs Your Child Could Have Autism]
Do You Have What it Takes to Live to 100?
The raw number of centenarians in America is increasing. Fast. In fact, they are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country. Currently, there are about 70,000 Americans who have reached the elusive 100 mark, but that number is expected to rise to about 600,000 by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
What is it that keeps their bodies humming along decades longer than average? In recent years, results from studies of centenarians have begun to offer answers, and it looks increasingly like there's no simple cause that confers extreme longevity—be it genetics, lifestyle, or personality—and no (at least at this point) quick fix or pill that's guaranteed to get you to 100.
But the research has revealed some telling clues about what it takes to reach three digits. First, women have a distinct advantage. About 85 percent of centenarians are women, and among an even more select group of supercentenarians (people 110 or older) the number jumps to about 90 percent. The men who do survive to 100, however, tend to be healthier and more fit than their female counterparts, perhaps because women are better at managing age-related illnesses like cardiovascular disease and cancer. [Read more: Do You Have What it Takes to Live to 100?]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.