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Tentatively, the students put on some music, and then get to talking.Soon, they're huddling over each other's cellphones, exchanging numbers. After a recent social event, Margaret says, Joey and some friends went to a bar.
This, coupled with other symptoms of autism, can have serious ramifications for young adults. Those numbers are steep, and they don't have to be.
Eighty-one percent of autistic people between high school and their early 20s have never lived independently; 68% have never lived apart from their parents; 64% have had no education after high school; and 42% aren't employed, according to the 2015 National Autism Indicators Report published by Drexel University's A. Laugeson and other researchers say many of the right social skills — for getting a job and keeping it, for making and maintaining friendships, and for dating — can be taught, just as the underlying rules of a foreign language can be broken down and explained.
They pushed to keep Joey in regular classrooms, moving from Downey to Whittier, where they found better support for students with autism.
Joey started speaking again about age 10, emerging as a hardworking high school student and earning a 4.3 GPA. In his second year, Joey noticed he was struggling socially; in his fourth year, he found himself losing many friends. Joey moved past that difficult period, and he's now a student in UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies hoping to research the challenges that college students with autism face in navigating campus life.
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