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  • Writer's picturedocschleg


Article: High School Math and Science Preparation and Postsecondary STEM Participation for Student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, by Wei and others. In Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 2017, 32 (2).

Did you know that a huge number of individuals with ASD who go to college end up majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses of study? In fact, ASD individuals major in STEM in college more than any other single disability category. This study wanted to tease out what factors predicted whether or not an ASD person might choose a STEM major. There were two primary predictors: taking STEM classes in high school, and social skills.

The study pointed out that students who specifically took high level math general education (as opposed, I suspect, to special education) classes in high school were more likely to declare a STEM major. In addition, conversational ability, students who had little or no problems conversing with others, was a significant predictor.

The article goes on to discuss implications for educational policy (e.g., schools need to teach social skills along with the academic curriculum). The original impetus for this article, however, appears to be the fact that STEM jobs are predicted to increase proportional to all other sectors in the US. If we can train them, there will be jobs.

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