Teens With Autism Will Enter Adulthood Each Year.
Every year, thousands of teens with autism age out of high school. For the majority of these young adults, this is the end of their autism-based services and support. As a result, students can go on to be jobless and develop feelings of isolation.
Since our founding in 2012, UAS has served and provided opportunities for more than 400 young adults through our innovative, community-focused programs including the UAS West Side Transition Academy.
The Academy, which opened in 2019, offers West Side Chicago Public High School students with autism and related disabilities opportunities to participate in community-based experiences as they transition out of high school.
With guidance from our team, including graduate students in speech therapy, occupational therapy, and social work, our participants learn to engage with the community, utilize neighborhood resources such as the library and public transportation, prepare for interviews and achieve their personal goals.
Many West Side high school students do not have access to the same specialized services and programs offered to their peers in other communities. Ninety-five percent of our West Side participants live in households at or below the national poverty level. Studies have shown that low-income and minority youth with autism face worse outcomes in adulthood than their neurotypical peers, including much higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of independent living. UAS strives to fill these gaps with programming that helps eliminate barriers that prevent young adults with autism and related disorders from experiencing employment and living independent, meaningful lives.