Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 1727–1741 | Cite as

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study

  • Edith Walsh
  • Jennifer Holloway
  • Helena Lydon
Original Paper


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are faced with significant barriers relating to employment opportunities and workplace participation. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Walker social skills curriculum: the ACCESS program and video modeling to increase social communication skills necessary for workplace inclusion. Participants attended two sessions (i.e., 3 h) per week across a period of 20 weeks. A multiple-probe design was used to demonstrate social skills outcomes across three broad curricular areas (i.e., peer-related, adult-related, and self-related social skills). Pre-and post-intervention standardized assessments were also taken. Results showed significant increases in target social skills and a significant decrease in problem behaviors following intervention. Evidence of maintenance and generalization were also demonstrated. Implications for practice and research are discussed.


Social communication skills Autism spectrum disorder Intellectual disability Employment Vocational skills Adults 


Author Contributions

EW, JH and HL conceptualised the study and EW collected data and completed analysis. All authors contributed to the interpretation of results and reviewed the manuscript critcally, and approved the final version.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by the Health Service Executive and Ability West Galway.

Conflict of Interest

The first author receiving funding for the implementation of the study as a research assistant. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”

Informed Consent

“Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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