Most of the 300,000 adults with autism in the United Kingdom want to work, but only 15 percent have full-time employment, a new report indicates.

The report from the National Autistic Society found that 79 percent of adults with autism who receive government assistance would like to work. But limited resources and lack of understanding mean that few have jobs and many have trouble even getting government assistance, leaving them “consigned to poverty.”

Currently, half of the country’s adults with autism have spent time without work or government assistance, forcing them to rely on family or friends just to get by.

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The National Autistic Society blames Britain’s poor employment record for people with autism on a lack of understanding of the disorder by job specialists. One-third of adults with autism called their disability employment adviser’s understanding of the disorder “very bad” or “bad.”

“People with autism say their experiences of the employment and benefits system are marred by anxiety, confusion, delays and discrimination,” says Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society. “It is absolutely vital they are able to access the right help and services if seeking employment and are supported financially when they cannot work.”

Now the group is calling on the British government to develop a national strategy for boosting employment among adults with autism.

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