One in 3 young adults with autism have no paid job experience or college or technical education nearly seven years after high school graduation, a study finds. That's a poorer showing than those with other disabilities, including the mentally disabled, the researchers said.

With roughly half a million autistic children who will reach adulthood in the next decade, experts say policymakers urgently need to address the issue.

The study, published online in Pediatrics, was based on data from 2007 to 2008. It found that within two years of leaving high school, more than half of those with autism had no job experience or college or technical education.  The research shows the need for programs to address the challenges faced by young people on the autism spectrum.

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