A child prodigy in the scholarly sense is someone who performs tasks at an adult level in a challenging field at a young age. Researchers have often found a link between child prodigies and autism. What many don’t understand is why these prodigies often can’t keep up in the real world.
AUTISM RESEARCH HALTED IN ADULT LIFE
For autistic children, their youth is surrounded by help and medicine. Their prodigal status is both studied and encouraged. Once that child goes from adolescence to adulthood, something strange happens. Many liken it to falling off a cliff due to the steep drop in autism service in the real world. Not much is known about autistic adults in comparison to children, so the help is simply nonexistent. One of the main reasons for this is finding adults who are willing to participate.
CHILD PRODIGIES DISSAPEAR INTO ADULTHOOD
When a child has autism, schools and parents usually keep a close eye on them. For that reason, it’s easy to locate these individuals for research. Finding a group of autistic adults, however, is not the same. Recently the largest ever study of child prodigies who are now adults has occurred. This study only consisted of 30 people. Once they were able to track them down, some interesting findings did occur. Though varied from person to person, a common trend was that child prodigies with autism did not follow through with their advanced skill set into adult life. Half of autistic individuals in the study had not found a job two years since graduating high school or continued with their education. Autistic adults were also found to have increased rates of medical conditions due to poor communications with health care providers.
THE FUTURE FOR ADULT PRODIGIES
In recent years, more studies have been created to examine adult prodigies, but they still are not getting the help they need. Autistic adults tend to live a life of poor quality compared to their childhoods. The world simply does not have the infrastructure in place to help adult prodigies with autism function at a high level. Without support from the school, these adults are bound to fail. One team called Project Search is leading the way in changing this. They have built a special internship model geared towards autistic students. Those that have participated in the program have shown a greater likelihood of finding paid work after high school.