Aims: To establish if autistic teenagers at age 16-18 years old are more likely to become “Not in Education, Employment or Training” (NEET) than typical teenagers.
Background: Autistic children have a different learning style that may not be suited to the mainstream classroom or the National Curriculum. They tend to favour depth over breadth, and self-learning over social learning. They may also have specific learning difficulties or developmental delays. This can lead to autistic children under-achieving in mainstream school settings, and/or being turned off education, losing self confidence, with increased levels of anxiety and depression, and with fewer formal academic qualifications even despite having good or above average intelligence. They may drop out of education at 16 or not be motivated to continue education, and they may not have the social skills to obtain work experience or an apprenticeship or a job. This project tests if autistic teenagers are more likely to become NEET, which itself is a risk factor for worse mental health and unemployment in the future.
Methods: We have access to the National Pupil Database (NPD) which has information on every child in mainstream schools, their diagnosis, their educational statement of special needs/educational health care plan (EHCP), their formal educational achievements, their scholastic aptitude test (SAT) scores, and other demographic information. We will mine this big dataset to test this research question.
Results: These will be posted on the ARC website when available.
Importance: Having a higher risk of becoming NEET would be an important fact to know if we are to design a more autism-friendly educational pathway to prevent this outcome in the future.
Relevance: This project has relevance to educators, those working in social care, parents, and young autistic people themselves.
Funding: The Autism Research Trust, the Queen Anne’s Gate Foundation, and NIHR-CLAHRC East of England.