Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 2669–2679 | Cite as

Developing a Vocational Index for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Julie Lounds Taylor
  • Marsha Mailick Seltzer
Original Paper


Existing methods of indexing the vocational activities of adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have made significant contributions to research. Nonetheless, they are limited by problems with sensitivity and reliability. We developed an index of vocational and educational outcomes that captures the full range of activities experienced by adults with ASD, and that can be reliably coded across studies using specific decision rules. To develop this index, we used employment, vocational, and educational data collected from nearly 350 adults with ASD at 6 times over 12 years, as part of a larger longitudinal study. The resulting index consists of 11 categories coded on a 9-point scale, ranging from competitive employment and/or postsecondary educational program to no vocational/educational activities.


Autism spectrum disorders Adult Postsecondary education Employment 



This project was supported by Autism Speaks (J.L. Taylor, PI), the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG08768, M.M. Seltzer, PI), and the National Institute of Mental Health (K01 MH92598, J.L. Taylor, PI). Core support was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P30 HD15052, E.M. Dykens, PI: P30 HD03352, M.M. Seltzer PI) and the National Center for Research Resources (1 UL1 RR024975). We are grateful to Dan Bolt, PhD, for his statistical consultation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt Kennedy CenterVanderbilt University School of Medicine, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at VanderbiltNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Waisman CenterUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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