Survey of vocational experiences of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and recommendations on improving their employment

Devon M. Coleman, James Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Many adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are unemployed or underemployed. OBJECTIVE: The study was designed to evaluate vocational status of adults with ASD, determine barriers to employment, evaluate current government vocational services, and determine possible methods to improve employment of adults with ASD. METHODS: An original online vocational survey was completed by 172 participants across Arizona. RESULTS: Some participants were employed without supports (28%) or with supports (9%), in center-based (4%) or group-based (5%) employment, and 16% were in school. A high percentage were unemployed (40%), with some looking for work (27%) and some not (13%). The major barriers to employment were being unable to get past interviews (59%), not knowing what jobs to apply for (39%), not knowing what they wanted to do (22%), having difficulty keeping a job (22%), and transportation (28%). Vocational Rehabilitation services received reasonable ratings of client satisfaction, but only 20% of VR clients reported that VR services helped (9%) or somewhat helped (11%) of them find a job. CONCLUSIONS: Underemployment and unemployment are major problems for adults with ASD, and multiple barriers to their employment are identified. Based on the survey, recommendations are provided on how to help adults with ASD find and maintain employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • adults
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • employment
  • internet survey
  • vocational services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy

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