Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 487-500

Competitive Employment for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Early Results from a Randomized Clinical Trial

  • Paul H. WehmanAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Carol M. SchallAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityDepartment of Special Education and Disability Policy, School of Education, VCU Autism Center for Excellence, Virginia Commonwealth University Email author 
  • , Jennifer McDonoughAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , John KregelAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityDepartment of Special Education and Disability Policy, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Valerie BrookeAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Alissa MolinelliAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Whitney HamAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Carolyn W. GrahamAffiliated withDepartment of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , J. Erin RiehleAffiliated withDivision of Disability Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
    • , Holly T. CollinsAffiliated withRehabilitation Research and Training Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
    • , Weston ThissAffiliated withSt. Mary’s Hospital

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Abstract

For most youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), employment upon graduation from high school or college is elusive. Employment rates are reported in many studies to be very low despite many years of intensive special education services. This paper presented the preliminary results of a randomized clinical trial of Project SEARCH plus ASD Supports on the employment outcomes for youth with ASD between the ages of 18–21 years of age. This model provides very promising results in that the employment outcomes for youth in the treatment group were much higher in non-traditional jobs with higher than minimum wage incomes than for youth in the control condition. Specifically, 21 out of 24 (87.5 %) treatment group participants acquired employment while 1 of 16 (6.25 %) of control group participants acquired employment.

Keywords

Autism ASD Transition to employment Applied behavior analysis Positive behavior support Project SEARCH