According to the 2015 National Autism Indicators Report, published by Drexel University's A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, 64% of persons with autism have had no education beyond high school and 42% are unemployed! It's difficult to quantify how many people with autism are underemployed but I would hazard to guess that it's a lot.
As a nation, we are failing our citizens with disabilities. We are failing them because of one reason and one reason only: THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW and sometimes NO EXPECTATIONS! While a disability may pose a hinderance to a person's learning process, we must not sentence that person to a life of limitations and failure by predetermining their future abilities. Nobility demands that we lift up the disabled members of our society with opportunities; not restrict them from reaching their fullest potential. This can be done by assessing what the person with autism (or any disability) is able to do and then, quite simply, guiding them toward success by supporting them as they build on the skills they have while simultaneously teaching them new skills.
Throughout my teaching career I have heard people both in and out of the field of education say: "wow, you must have a lot of patience", or "oh, well we know your babies can't do anything" or (with an air of disdain) "they're in special ed" or "because really, what can your kids do?" or my personal favorite (and I say that with a level of vitriolic anger and sarcasm that shouldn't be mistaken for sincerity) "this one (referring to a student with autism) is so stupid, that nothing good will ever become of him.". This ignorant line of antiquated thinking has been around for centuries and needs to be smashed! When the esteemed physicist, Albert Einstein was 7 years old his teacher said "nothing good" would ever come of him and yet before he turned 30 years old he revolutionized man's understanding of nature with his theory of relativity.
I'm constantly exhausted by the throngs of narrow minded individuals, especially those in positions of great influence, viewing those with disabilities as less than! We should not, ever, define people by their disability! When we do this, we victimize an already devalued population of untapped potential. People with disabilities must be valued for what they can contribute to society, for when this occurs, everyone wins.