A Systematic Review of Vocational Interventions for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders
ABSTRACT Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are approaching adolescence and young adulthood; interventions to assist these individuals with vocational skills are not well understood. This study systematically reviewed evidence regarding vocational interventions for individuals with ASD between the ages of 13 and 30 years.
The Medline, PsycINFO, and ERIC databases (1980-December 2011) and reference lists of included articles were searched. Two reviewers independently assessed each study against predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently extracted data regarding participant and intervention characteristics, assessment techniques, and outcomes, and assigned overall quality and strength of evidence ratings based on predetermined criteria.
Five studies were identified; all were of poor quality and all focused on on-the-job supports as the employment/vocational intervention. Short-term studies reported that supported employment was associated with improvements in quality of life (1 study), ASD symptoms (1 study), and cognitive functioning (1 study). Three studies reported that interventions increased rates of employment for young adults with ASD.
Few studies have been conducted to assess vocational interventions for adolescents and young adults with ASD. As such, there is very little evidence available for specific vocational treatment approaches as individuals transition to adulthood. All studies of vocational approaches were of poor quality, which may reflect the recent emergence of this area of research. Individual studies suggest that vocational programs may increase employment success for some; however, our ability to understand the overall benefit of supported employment programs is limited given the existing research.
SourceAvailable from: Emily J Ginger[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: The community-based unemployment rate for adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ranges from 50-75%. Moreover, evidence-based services to support these adults in finding employment are sparse. The job interview is a common gateway to obtaining competitive community-based employment, but it can be a significant barrier for individuals with ASD to obtain employment. Improving job interview performance is a critical target for employment services and is especially important for individuals with ASD given their significant social deficits. Objectives: To test the feasibility and efficacy of the internet-based 'Virtual Reality Job Interview Training' (VR-JIT) program Methods: VR-JIT consists of up to 10 hours of simulated job interviews with a virtual human resource representative and didactic job interview education materials. In a randomized single-blind controlled trial, 26 adults with autism aged 18-31 years were randomized to VR-JIT (n=16) or to a treatment as usual (TAU) control condition (n=10). The primary outcome measures were improved performance on standardized job interview role-plays and a measure of job interview self-confidence. Within the VR-JIT condition, change in trial performance over time was examined as a process measure. Results: Regarding feasibility, participants attended 90% of VR-JIT training sessions and reported that the training was easy-to-use, helpful, and enjoyable. They also reported that training increased their confidence and prepared them for future interviews. Regarding efficacy, participants in the VR-JIT condition had greater improvement in standardized role-plays than TAU participants (p=.046). A similar pattern was observed with regards to self-confidence at the trend level (p=.060). We also found a log linear increase in the training scores for the simulated job interview trials over time (R-Squared=.83). Conclusions: The current study was a novel attempt to demonstrate changes in vocational skills through virtual reality training using an internet-based platform that can be widely used by families, support groups, and service providers. The findings provide preliminary evidence that VR-JIT is both feasible and efficacious for adults with ASD.2014 International Meeting for Autism Research; 05/2014
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ABSTRACT: This paper presents findings from a retrospective observational records review study that compares the outcomes associated with implementation of supported employment (SE) with and without prior Project SEARCH with ASD Supports (PS-ASD) on wages earned, time spent in intervention, and job retention. Results suggest that SE resulted in competitive employment for 45 adults with ASD. Twenty-five individuals received prior intervention through PS-ASD while the other 20 individuals received SE only. Individuals in this sample who received PS-ASD required fewer hours of intervention. Additionally, individuals in the PS-ASD group achieved a mean higher wage and had higher retention rates than their peers who received SE only. Further research with a larger sample is needed to confirm these findings.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10803-015-2426-5 · 3.06 Impact Factor
04/2013; 36(1):58-66. DOI:10.1177/2165143413482137