August 3, 2015, by Charlotte Beer

BBC commissions new series on unemployment and people with neurological conditions

Job opportunities and the employment prospects of young people with neurodevelopmental disorders are poorer than for their peers. This is the conclusion one is led to after reviewing research findings from both the UK and USA. For example Roux and colleagues (see study details below) found only just over half of young adults with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) had ever worked for pay outside the home, the lowest rate among disability groups in the USA.

A recent UK study exploring the relationship between Tourette syndrome (TS), tic severity and socioeconomic status found much higher rates of unemployment in a clinic sample of TS patients compared to an age- matched population: 29% compared to 7.5% (see study details below). Moreover, perhaps unsurprisingly, tic severity ratings were highest among unemployed participants compared to those from the highest socioeconomic group.

As a CANDAL team member I was therefore very excited when I stumbled on an item on the BBC website about a new programme they have commissioned. Given the working title “Employ Me” the three part series will follow the stories of unemployed people with what are described as neurological conditions from ASD and TS to Down’s Syndrome. The news item claims that working with Professor Baron-Cohen of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University they want to challenge existing conceptions and show people with neurodevelopmental disorders can have strengths as well as disabilities. See the BBC website details below to find out more, keep your eyes open for the programme and we will too!

Dr Charlotte Beer, Assistant Professor in Behavioural Sciences, CANDAL member

Find out more about Employ Me here

Roux, A. M., P. T. Shattuck, B. P. Cooper, K. A. Anderson, M. Wagner and S. C. Narendorf “Postsecondary Employment Experiences Among Young Adults With an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 52(9): 931-939.

Mark, Aldred, Cavanna Andrea E. 2015. “Tourette syndrome and socioeconomic status.” Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology doi:10.1007/s10072-015-2223-0.


Posted in psychiatry