EDUCATIONAL LEVEL SIGNALS UNOBSERVED ABILITIES OF PEOPLE WITH HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS1


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Abstract

Summary.The effect of educational level on employment of people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD) was examined. If education augments natural abilities to accomplish tasks in people with HFASD, then those with more education would have comparative advantages in both obtaining and retaining jobs. In contrast, if education did not augment natural abilities and only signaled unobservable abilities, one would expect an advantage only in obtaining a job, but not in retention. 22 people with HFASD replied to questionnaires regarding their history of education and employment. Those with job experience had higher educational levels than those with no job experience, but educational level was not significantly different between groups with and without more than one year of job experience. Educational level seems to be associated with abilities, but probably the unobserved abilities underlie both educational attainment and employment history.

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