The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over five million adult Americans are living on the autism spectrum. Furthermore, the CDC estimates that 1 in 59 children has autism. It is the fastest-growing disability in the country, doubling in the past 15 years.
In the next decade, 500,000 individuals with autism will graduate from the school systems into the work-world. Based on current statistics, nearly 80% of these adults will be unemployed or underemployed. Of the few lucky enough to have jobs, many are stuck in low-skilled, manual labor positions that fail to develop their skills and talents.
Largely as result of these poor employment opportunities, society must bear the cost of supporting these individuals. The cost of supporting a single individual with autism throughout their life is estimated to cost as much as $2.4 million. Given the staggering growth in the number of people with autism, the annual cost is estimated to exceed $125 billion in the US alone.