Article

A theoretical framework for investigating the context for creating employment success in information technology for individuals with autism

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

There is limited research that addresses the inclusion of individuals with autism in the workforce. Autism employment in information technology (IT) is a new phenomenon and there is no established theory to draw from to investigate this phenomenon. In this paper, we review the existing literature on autism employment and present a theoretical framework to study information technology workplace readiness to equitably include individuals with autism. Our proposed framework extends Annabi and Lebovitz’s organizational interventions mitigating individual barriers theoretical framework to include Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior constructs. The framework will contribute to advancing the knowledge and understanding of the needs of individuals with autism, the knowledge and attitudes of neurotypical information technology employees, and organization and employment characteristics. Ultimately, this work will lead to discoveries that broaden participation of individuals with autism in the information technology industry and beyond.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In broader autism employment research, there is consensus that many autistic adults face often-substantial challenges in the workplace, mostly related to interactions with, or attitudes of, employers (e.g., Baldwin et al. 2014;Hurlbutt and Chalmers 2004;López and Keenan 2014;Unger 2002). Knowledge and attitudes of neurotypical employees (or employers) towards autistic colleagues have been highlighted as critical factors to the successful employment of autistic workers (Annabi and Locke 2019). These factors form part of the adapted Organizational Interventions Mitigating Individual Barriers (OIMIB) framework, originally created by Annabi and Lebovitz (2018), to address barriers that women face in the Information Technology (IT) industry. ...
... These factors form part of the adapted Organizational Interventions Mitigating Individual Barriers (OIMIB) framework, originally created by Annabi and Lebovitz (2018), to address barriers that women face in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Annabi and Locke (2019) applied the OIMIB theoretical framework to interpret autism employment research and its impact in the IT industry and beyond, by focusing on individual, intervention, and organizational levels and how these interrelate to barriers faced by autistic people in employment. ...
... The adapted OIMIB framework (Annabi and Locke 2019) claims that autistic employees will experience fewer barriers when neurotypical colleagues are knowledgeable about autism and when they have positive attitudes towards autism. The existing research supports these claims: the majority of workplaces and employers do not appear currently to have adequate levels of awareness or support available to autistic employees, and our previous work established that there are autistic people working in the performing arts with unmet support needs (Buckley et al. 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
This research examined in-depth the employment experiences of autistic performing arts professionals and the attitudes and adjustments of performing arts employers. We interviewed 18 autistic performing arts professionals and 19 performing arts employers. Autistic performing arts professionals described facing challenges in the workplace. Some autistic professionals had access to support, but the majority felt that there was not enough available and highlighted many ways in which they could be better supported. Performing arts employers varied in their experiences of working with autistic people, many had limited knowledge about autism-specific support or relied on other professionals to provide it. These findings shed light on current unmet support needs of autistic performing arts professionals, and provide key recommendations for research and practice.
... Many of the challenges autistic adults face in the workplace relate to interactions with, or attitudes of, employers (Baldwin, Costley, & Warren, 2014;Hurlbutt & Chalmers, 2004;López & Keenan, 2014;Unger, 2002). Knowledge and attitudes of neurotypical employees (or employers) towards autistic colleagues have been highlighted as critical factors to the successful employment of autistic workers (Annabi & Locke, 2019). These factors form part of the adapted Organizational Interventions Mitigating Individual Barriers (OIMIB) framework, originally created by Annabi and Lebovitz (2018), to address barriers that women face in the Information Technology (IT) industry. ...
... These factors form part of the adapted Organizational Interventions Mitigating Individual Barriers (OIMIB) framework, originally created by Annabi and Lebovitz (2018), to address barriers that women face in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Annabi and Locke (2019) applied the OIMIB theoretical framework to interpret autism employment research and its impact in the IT industry and beyond, by focusing on individual, intervention, and organisational levels and how these interrelate to barriers faced by autistic people in employment. Ultimately it is employers who can often generate and enforce changes to the working environment, that can make a crucial difference to autistic employees. ...
... Chapter 4 aims to address this, in part, by exploring and examining the experiences of autistic performing arts professionals and investigating the specific occupational support needs of this group. The next chapter also analyses the attitudes of performing arts employers and the adjustments they are putting in place for autistic employees, as they are an integral factor as to whether autistic people can access workplace support (Annabi & Locke, 2019). ...
Conference Paper
This research sought for the first time to identify the extent to which autistic people, and those with high levels of autistic traits, are pursuing careers in the performing arts, and to examine the experiences and support needs of this population. In Chapter 2, I determined that there are significant relationships between autistic traits, occupational self-efficacy, quality of life, mental health, and need for support in performing arts professionals, as well as qualitatively analysed professionals’ experiences of accessing support in the industry. I showed that there a significant minority of autistic professionals in the performing arts who may have unmet support needs. In Chapter 3, I found similar significant relationships between autistic traits, educational self-efficacy, quality of life, mental health, and need for support in the performing arts student population. Additionally, I compared their experiences to students studying other subjects and found very few differences, suggesting that performing arts education is not a uniquely challenging environment compared to other higher education courses. In Chapter 4, I analysed, in-depth, the support needs and views of autistic performing arts professionals on working in the industry, and the attitudes and levels of autism knowledge of performing arts employers. Some autistic professionals had access to support, but the majority felt that there was not enough available and highlighted many ways in which they could be better supported. Performing arts employers varied in their experiences of working with autistic people, many had limited knowledge about autism-specific support or relied on other professionals to provide it. In Chapter 5, I tested the feasibility and acceptability of professional mentoring as a form of employment-based support for autistic performing arts professionals. I found it to be an acceptable and workable method of support, with many participants reporting increased occupational self-confidence. Finally, in Chapter 6, I summarise the main findings from the empirical studies presented in this thesis. I discuss the contributions the studies have made towards our understanding of the experiences and support needs of autistic performing arts professionals. I describe the limitations of my research, and I outline the implications and possible future directions for this research.
... According to estimates, 1 in every 59 children in the United States may be characterized by this disorder [10]. Even though individuals with ASD often possess unique abilities such as extraordinary levels of analytical thinking [11,12], they are largely underrepresented in the workforce [13,14]. Statistics suggest that approximately 85% of people with autism are not in full time work [15] and 46% of adults with autism who are in employment are over-educated or exceed the level of skills needed for their roles [16]. ...
... Specifically, we pay attention to the resources needed to improve the communication processes around recruitment, selection, onboarding, and job retention, which can be perceived as a source of stress. These four stages are crucial elements of employment success for individuals in general, as well as those with ASD [11]. While there exists a significant body of literature investigating the effectiveness of HR practices across these four employment stages [32,33], it is not yet fully recognized that distinct categories of employees have different needs and require specific communication practices to contribute to organizational performance [23]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Difficulties with interpersonal communication experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) significantly contribute to their underrepresentation in the workforce as well as problems experienced while in employment. Consistently, it is vital to understand how communication within the employment cycle of this group can be improved. This study aims to identify and analyze the possibilities of modifying the communication processes around recruitment, selection, onboarding, and job retention to address the specific characteristics and needs of the representatives of this group. This qualitative study is based on 15 in-depth interviews conducted with 21 field experts, i.e.,: therapists, job trainers, and entrepreneurs employing people with ASD. The findings of this research informed the creation of an inclusive communication model supporting the employment cycle of individuals with ASD. The most important recommendations within the model that was created include the modification of job advertisements, use of less structured job interviews, providing opportunities for mentorship, and supportive and non-direct, electronically mediated communication. To apply the above-mentioned solutions and take full advantage of the talents of people with ASD, it is also necessary to provide tailored sensitivity and awareness training programs for their direct addressees as well as their neurotypical colleagues, including managerial staff.
... 99). Despite these programs' development, the neurologically atypical population remains largely underemployed or unemployed (Annabi & Locke, 2019). ...
... Despite the possibility of the rosy picture of neurodiverse public organizations painted by the findings above, poor supervisory relationships (Richards, 2012), isolation and exclusion (Müller et al., 2003), and a lack of understanding and support in employment settings appear in companies with a neurologically atypical population (Baldwin et al., 2014); see also Annabi & Locke (2019). It is still necessary to test different ways to create neurodiverse organizations and better understand how neurologically atypical individuals face the risks and opportunities their employment brings. ...
Article
Full-text available
This perspective shows how neurodiversity can increase public organizations’ innovations and output quality. Studies from business and entrepreneurship fields are used to argue that public organizations may prosper if they recruit neurologically atypical individuals. Their unique thinking styles, coping strategies, and life experiences can lead to public services innovation. The management of public organizations through neurodiversity programs may gain competencies benefiting all employees. However, the promotion of neurodiversity cannot be achieved without demanding changes in organizational culture. The article also illustrates the benefits of neurodiversity using the example of a neurogenerative disease (toxoplasmosis).
... Such difficulties that neuro-minorities face may be further exacerbated in light of the COVID-19 crisis. More specifically, recent changes to working patterns and new modes of communication (Davies, 2020) may have a negative impact on job experience (Kelly and Senior, 2021) and may be particularly difficult to navigate and manage for individuals who experience difficulties with adapting to change (Annabi et al., 2019). In light of these challenges, we call to move away from employment perspectives that view diversity as 'the problem' and instead we suggest that the problem lies in inappropriate management of diversity (see also : Härtel and Fujimoto, 2015). ...
... ---Insert Table I around here---Analytical thinking and attention to detail by individuals with autism often make them successful in a variety of roles, specifically in the IT industry (Annabi and Locke, 2019). The ability of dyslexic and dyspraxic individuals to think innovatively is useful for individual employees and teams (Doyle, 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Existing management research and management practices frequently overlook the relationship between the above-average human capital of highly functioning neurodivergent employees, their subjective well-being in the workplace and performance outcomes. This paper calls for greater attention to the hidden human capital associated with neurodiversity by mainstreaming implementation of neurodiversity-friendly policies and practices. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on the ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO) framework, this conceptual paper integrates research on employee neurodiversity and well-being to provide a model of HR-systems level and human capital development policies, systems and practices for neurodivergent minorities in the workplace. Findings This paper illustrates that workplace neurodiversity, like biodiversity, is a natural phenomenon. For subjective individual psychological and organisational well-being, neurodivergent employees require an empathetic culture and innovative talent management approaches that respect cognitive differences. Practical implications The case is made for neurodivergent human capital development and policy-makers to promote inclusive employment and decent work in a context of relatively high unemployment for neurodivergent individuals. Originality/value This paper extends current debates on organisational equality, diversity and inclusion to a consideration of workplace well-being for highly functioning neurodivergent workers. It calls for more equitable and empathetic approaches to investing in employees with neurodevelopmental and cognitive disabilities.
... Moreover, individuals with ASD without intellectual disability are three times more likely to be unemployed than those with autism who have an intellectual disability (Taylor & Seltzer, 2011). Employment is important for many individuals with ASD as it contributes to their quality of life and independence, but also to their ability to contribute to society and feeling of inclusion (Annabi & Locke, 2019). For example, Taylor and Seltzer (2011) found that a greater degree of independence in vocational activities was related to subsequent positive changes in individuals with ASD vary from 25 % to 30 % in epidemiological studies to up to 84 % in clinical samples (Howlin & Moss, 2012). ...
Article
Background Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have an employment rate well below the general population. One potential solution to address this issue is the implementation of supported employment services. The purpose of our study was to evaluate a Canadian community supported employment program designed for individuals with ASD without an intellectual disability. Method Thirty-seven individuals with ASD, who were receiving services from a local community agency (Action main-d’oeuvre) providing supported employment services, participated in the study. The research team monitored the characteristics of the participants, the number of hours of services provided, and outcome measures related to employment. We then conducted descriptive analyses, t-tests, and Wilcoxon signed rank tests to compare anxiety about work and self-efficacy before services and after outcomes of the program. Results Despite high levels of comorbid mental health issues, our results indicated that 62.1 % of individuals obtained paid employment within 12 months. Furthermore, participants with post-secondary education found jobs related to their degree or requiring specialized skills. Participants felt less anxious and more self-efficacious towards employment. Maintaining employment was a greater challenge and continuing support may be required. Conclusions The study suggests that the employment services may have supported the participants in finding a job. However, collaboration is essential to address mental health issues in job seekers with ASD, which appeared to hinder job search and maintenance.
... These avenues could include alternative selection methods or adapting interviews to make the strengths of ASD applicants easier for reviewers to see. With respect to the prior, alternatives could involve workbased samples, selection tests (e.g., personality inventories), or skill-based assessments that span multiple interview sessions or an extended session rather than a single, brief interview (Annabi & Locke, 2019;Carrero et al., 2019;Tomczak et al., 2021). Several companies including Microsoft and SAP have successfully used work samples, though it is unclear if this approach is scalable to other businesses. ...
Article
Full-text available
Job interviews are an integral component of the hiring process in most fields. Our research examines job interview performance of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to neurotypical (NT) individuals. ASD and NT individuals were taped engaging in mock job interviews. Candidates were rated on a variety of dimensions by respondents who either watched the interview videos or read the interview transcripts and were naïve to the neurodiversity of the interviewees. NT candidates outperformed ASD candidates in the video condition, but in the absence of visual and social cues (transcript condition), individuals with ASD outperformed NT candidates. Our findings suggest that social style significantly influences hiring decisions in traditional job interviews and may bias evaluators against otherwise qualified candidates.
... Programs focused on helping autistic people gain employment cite this population's unique qualities and abilities in error detection, attention to detail, comfort with repetitive tasks, and high levels of focus, as making these individuals especially suited for jobs in software testing or security [80]. Following in the footsteps of one Danish IT company, Specialisterne, tech giants like SAP Software Solutions and Microsoft have implemented hiring and onboarding initiatives for autistic adults looking for information technology roles, revealing that social responsibility and business benefits were two of the main incentives for the effort [81]. While a number of new programs available in the community are known for specialization in technology fields, it is important to note the diversity of autism so that a "one size fits all" approach is not the solution to improving employment outcomes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review This review provides a highlight of existing evidence-based practices and community support systems that exist to enhance employment outcomes for autistic transition-age youth (TAY) and adults. An update is provided on the current status of these programs and the impact they are having on employment outcomes for this population. Recent Findings Many programs exist that prove to be efficacious in improving employment outcomes. These programs can be categorized as vocational rehabilitation service system level interventions, provider and consumer level interventions targeting skills related to employment, and consumer level interventions delivered within community vocational rehabilitation or education settings. A more recent increase in programs is consistent with multiple research and policy calls for amplified programming in this area. Summary Despite these recent increases, there is still a need to further develop effective programming to support employment outcomes as the growing autistic population age into adulthood. Community-based research and practice should continue to be developed and tested.
... More specifically, recent changes to working patterns and new modes of communication may have a negative impact on job experience and may be particularly difficult to navigate and manage for individuals who experience difficulties with adapting to change (Annabi et al., 2019). The pandemic also led to the digitization and automation of work which, on the one hand, allowed employees to work effectively from home (Kulik, 2021). ...
Article
Purpose The rich qualitative study builds on 11 semi-structured interviews with nine neurodivergent employees and two business professionals supportive of neurodiversity to understand the lived experiences of dealing with crisis in a remote working environment. Design/methodology/approach The purpose of the reported research is to understand how neurominorities experience remote working in the times of crisis and what the implications of this are for human resource (HR) professionals. Findings Moving to remote work resulted in a lack of routine, distractions and working long hours, which can all be difficult for line managers to monitor. Further problems with communication in a virtual environment and lack of understanding by others were found to be particularly burdensome to neurodivergent individuals. On the positive note, remote working in the times of crisis allowed for avoiding sensory overwhelm and was seen as an important step in creating a healthy work–life balance (WLB). Practical implications The findings of this study point HR practitioners' attention towards building a more neurodiversity friendly post-pandemic workplace and prompt employers to offer working arrangements, which better suit employees' domestic and personal circumstances. Originality/value This study addresses the lack of research on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on neurominorities. In doing so, it answers recent calls to move away from universal HR as a route to positive employee outcomes and facilitates a more accurate reflection of organizational reality for disadvantaged members of society.
... sexuality (Parchomiuk, 2019)). There have been some promising studies with adults in the workplace (e.g., Hendricks, 2010;Hedley et al., 2017;Annabi and Locke, 2019;Wills et al., 2019) as well as increasing initiatives in a variety of corporations and non-profits to develop neurodiverse workforces. Likewise, increasing efforts have sought to include autistic adults in the design process, such as the Clap novel tactile anxiety management program (Simm et al., 2014). ...
Book
This book provides an in-depth review of the historical and state-of-the-art use of technology by and for individuals with autism. The design, development, deployment, and evaluation of interactive technologies for use by and with individuals with autism have been rapidly increasing over the last few decades. There is great promise for the use of these technologies to enrich lives, improve the experience of interventions, help with learning, facilitate communication, support data collection, and promote understanding. Emerging technologies in this area also have the potential to enhance assessment and diagnosis of autism, to understand the nature and lived experience of autism, and to help researchers conduct basic and applied research. The intention of this book is to give readers a comprehensive background for understanding what work has already been completed and its impact as well as what promises and challenges lie ahead. A large majority of existing technologies have been designed for autistic children, there is increased interest in technology’s intersection with the lived experiences of autistic adults. By providing a classification scheme and general review, this book can help technology designers, researchers, autistic people, and their advocates better understand how technologies have been successful or unsuccessful, what problems remain open, and where innovations can further address challenges and opportunities for individuals with autism and the variety of stakeholders connected to them.
... Moreover, individuals with ASD without intellectual disability are three times more likely to be unemployed than those with autism who have an intellectual disability (Taylor & Seltzer, 2011). Employment is important for many individuals with ASD as it contributes to their quality of life and independence, but also to their ability to contribute to society and feeling of inclusion (Annabi & Locke, 2019). For example, Taylor and Seltzer (2011) found that a greater degree of independence in vocational activities was related to subsequent positive changes in autism symptoms and activities of daily living as well as reductions in maladaptive behaviors. ...
Preprint
Background: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have an employment rate well below the general population. One potential solution to address this issue is the implementation of supported employment services. The purpose of our study was to evaluate a Canadian community supported employment program designed for individuals with ASD without an intellectual disability. Method: Thirty-seven individuals with ASD, who were receiving services from a local community agency (Action Main d’Oeuvre) providing supported employment services, participated in the study. The research team monitored the characteristics of the participants, the services rendered, and outcomes measures related to employment.Results: Despite high levels of comorbid mental health issues, our results indicated that 62.1% of individuals obtained paid employment within 12 months. Furthermore, participants with post-secondary education found jobs related to their degree or requiring specialized skills. Maintaining employment was a greater challenge and continuing support may be required. Conclusions: The study suggests that the employment services may have supported the participants in finding a job. However, collaboration is essential to address mental health issues in job seekers with ASD, which appeared to hinder job search and maintenance.
Article
Full-text available
The advantages and challenges of neurodiversity employment in organizations - Volume 25 Special Issue - Anna Krzeminska, Robert D. Austin, Susanne M. Bruyère, Darren Hedley
Article
Autistic adults face alarmingly high rates of unemployment and underemployment. There is limited research regarding employers’ capacity to support autistic persons, how to better understand employers’ needs and their key role in employment processes. In this employer‐focused qualitative study, 14 Australian employers and nine professional experts were interviewed in depth. The identified themes were 1) Employer awareness and knowledge of autism; 2) Autism is a strength rather than a deficit, disorder or disability; 3) Employer empowerment is a key facilitator of change and 4) Autism tools for the employer. These findings highlight the need for ongoing education of employers to strengthen knowledge in the workplace about autism and addressing workplace environmental variables directly. Novel findings were the critical importance of employer self‐care and treating all employees the same.
Article
Purpose: Employment rates for autistic people are low, despite increasing employment-focused programmes. Given the reported complexities for autistic people in finding and keeping work and flourishing there, further exploration is needed to understand how best to help employers accommodate autistic employees. Material and methods: We assessed 88 employed autistic adults, without comorbid intellectual disability and examined whether self-reported disability and mental health symptoms were associated with two measures of vocational functioning: disability days off work and vocational disability. Results: Nearly half (47%) reported at least one disability day absence in the previous month. Autism severity and IQ were not associated with either measure of vocational functioning. Greater disability and higher mental health symptoms were associated with both types of vocational functioning. However, the associations of anxiety and stress with both vocational outcomes were attenuated to null in a multivariable model. Disability (B ¼ 6.74, p ¼ 0.009; B ¼ 1.18, p < 0.001) and depression (B ¼ 4.46, p ¼ 0.035; B ¼ 1.01, p ¼ 0.049) remained independently associated with both outcomes. Conclusions: Clinicians and vocational support programmes addressing modifiable factors may need to focus on addressing mental health comorbidities, specifically depression rather than anxiety, or core features of autism to improve vocational outcomes for autistic people.
Chapter
The chapter explains the steps and rationale for conducting this scoping review. It begins with an overview of scoping reviews, including the main differences between such reviews and other methods of data collection and analysis. This is followed by an explanation of the five steps outlined by Arskey and O’Malley for conducting scoping reviews. These five steps are also used in this scoping review. Some of the methodological strengths and weaknesses of this study are then outlined.
Article
Full-text available
There are more neurodiverse people in the workforce than ever before.1 Improved diagnosis, better interventions, and greater education and workforce accommodations have meant new opportunities for people with neurodiverse conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia. Research suggests that many neurodiverse people have a strong work ethic, are resilient, and are determined to do well.2 But many function differently when it comes to social interactions, communication, executive attention, working memory, language learning, and sensory processing. Some also suffer from anxiety and depression. Given a supportive environment, neurodiverse employees can meet or exceed performance expectations.3 Poor management practices, however, such as unsupportive supervision, unclear communication, and inflexible work policies, as well as office politics, noise, and clutter, can compromise their performance. Organizations should promote practices to support and encourage neurodiverse staff members. https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/providing-performance-feedback-to-support-neurodiverse-employees/
Article
With the rapid advancement of innovative technology, coupled with IT being a core function in contemporary business, there has been an upward trend of multi-national companies (MNCs) reporting a skill deficit in areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity (Columbus, 2017. IBM predicts demand for data scientists will soar 28% By 2020. Forbes ; NeSmith, 2018. The cybersecurity gap is an industry crisis. Forbes ). In a recent survey with over 3,000 CIOs, 65% indicated their organizations were unable to maintain par with the progression of technology in areas such as data analytics and security due to a lack of adequate talent (Harvey Nash & KPMG, 2018. CIO survey 2018). Although, organizations have recently started to expand their talent pipeline following a neurological breakthrough: research as well as anecdotal evidence suggests adults with mild forms of autism display above-average intelligence, increased attention focus, and high visual–spatial abilities; a combination in high market demand for roles such as software testing, data analysis, cybersecurity, and engineering due to their uncanny ability with pattern recognition, information processing, analytics, and attention to detail. These auspicious developments come at the helm of an increasing rate of governments around the world implementing provisions to their labour regulations towards equitable hiring of people with disabilities (Myors et al., 2017. Perspectives from 22 countries on the legal environment for selection. Handbook of Employee Selection . 659–677. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business.). Some, such as France, Japan, Kenya, Korea, and Taiwan, have gone so far as to set quota targets (Myors et al., 2017. Perspectives from 22 countries on the legal environment for selection. Handbook of Employee Selection . 659–677. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business.). The implication for organizations is that they need to develop disability-inclusive recruitment and selection systems along with work designs and environments that are disability friendly. But what does this mean in practice? What does a disability-inclusive recruitment and selection system look like? Enter DXC Technology (DXC): born out of a merger between global conglomerate Computer Science Corporation and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, generating close to $25 billion annually in revenue, with clients across more than 70 countries, they strategically became a pioneer in the digital transformation that was taking place globally. In the wake of the breakthrough in employment diversity, DXC recognized this as an opportunity to gain a critical edge within the increasingly competitive talent pool market. First, design a program of their own for recruiting and selecting adults with high functioning autism. Next, through a collaboration with various universities including the University of Queensland and Macquarie University, Neurodiversity Hubs were established; an initiative designed to assist neurodivergent students with obtaining work experience and internships. In doing so, they faced the following key challenges: How could they design a recruitment and selection strategy for neurodivergent individuals that was equitable, ethical, and efficient? In particular, where could they find suitable neurodivergent candidates, what criteria should they use to select them, and how should they handle unsuccessful candidates to ensure beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders?
Article
Full-text available
To meet the high demand for information technology (IT) professionals, organizations must become more effective at attracting and retaining women. Ninety-seven percent of companies surveyed by Forbes in 2011 had implemented diversity and inclusion interventions. Despite these efforts, the percentage of women working in IT continues to decline, raising questions about the effectiveness of current organizational interventions aimed at increasing gender diversity. This study sought to gain a better understanding of these organizational interventions by developing a comprehensive framework based on comparative case studies of 9 organizations. The framework integrates intervention characteristics and barriers IT women experience and the coping methods they use to address barriers. This paper presents propositions based on this theoretical framework to guide further research on the effectiveness of gender diversity and inclusion interventions in IT.
Article
Full-text available
Evidence of executive dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) across development remains mixed and establishing its role is critical for guiding diagnosis and intervention. The primary objectives of this meta-analysis is to analyse executive function (EF) performance in ASD, the fractionation across EF subdomains, the clinical utility of EF measures and the influence of multiple moderators (for example, age, gender, diagnosis, measure characteristics). The Embase, Medline and PsychINFO databases were searched to identify peer-reviewed studies published since the inclusion of Autism in DSM-III (1980) up to end of June 2016 that compared EF in ASD with neurotypical controls. A random-effects model was used and moderators were tested using subgroup analysis. The primary outcome measure was Hedges’ g effect size for EF and moderator factors. Clinical sensitivity was determined by the overlap percentage statistic (OL%). Results were reported according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. A total of 235 studies comprising 14 081 participants were included (N, ASD=6816, Control=7265). A moderate overall effect size for reduced EF (Hedges’ g=0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.43–0.53) was found with similar effect sizes across each domain. The majority of moderator comparisons were not significant although the overall effect of executive dysfunction has gradually reduced since the introduction of ASD. Only a small number of EF measures achieved clinical sensitivity. This study confirms a broad executive dysfunction in ASD that is relatively stable across development. The fractionation of executive dysfunction into individual subdomains was not supported, nor was diagnostic sensitivity. Development of feasible EF measures focussing on clinical sensitivity for diagnosis and treatment studies should be a priority.
Article
Full-text available
Autobiographical descriptions and clinician observations suggest that some individuals with autism, particularly females, ‘camouflage’ their social communication difficulties, which may require considerable cognitive effort and lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression. Using data from 60 age- and IQ-matched men and women with autism (without intellectual disability), we operationalized camouflaging in adults with autism for the first time as the quantitative discrepancy between the person’s ‘external’ behavioural presentation in social–interpersonal contexts (measured by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) and the person’s ‘internal’ status (dispositional traits measured by the Autism Spectrum Quotient and social cognitive capability measured by the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test). We found that the operationalized camouflaging measure was not significantly correlated with age or IQ. On average, women with autism had higher camouflaging scores than men with autism (Cohen’s d = 0.98), with substantial variability in both groups. Greater camouflaging was associated with more depressive symptoms in men and better signal-detection sensitivity in women with autism. The neuroanatomical association with camouflaging score was largely sex/gender-dependent and significant only in women: from reverse inference, the most correlated cognitive terms were about emotion and memory. The underlying constructs, measurement, mechanisms, consequences and heterogeneity of camouflaging in autism warrant further investigation.
Article
Full-text available
Two meta-analyses were conducted to Investigate the effectiveness of the Fishbein and Ajzen model in research to date. Strong overall evidence for the predictive utility of the model was found. Although numerous instances were identified in which researchers overstepped the boundary conditions initially proposed for the model, the predictive utility remained strong across conditions. However, three variables were proposed and found to moderate the effectiveness of the model. Suggested extensions to the model are discussed and general directions for future research are given.
Article
Full-text available
With a disproportionately high unemployment rate, obtaining and maintaining employment is exceptionally difficult for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Further, few individuals with ASD have been trained in the vocational skills needed to obtain gainful employment. The need to evaluate not only our current knowledge about the employment needs of individuals with ASD, but also to inquire about interventions, strategies, and supports in the workplace is pressing. The harsh reality of high unemployment rates for adults with ASD, and the consequently high cost of services, can be aided by examining the best practices for supporting employment. This review of the literature focuses on vocational training interventions targeted specifically to adolescents and adults with ASD. Twenty studies evaluating pre-employment, specific vocational skill training, and job retention interventions are discussed, trends in intervention characteristics are highlighted, and recommendations for future research are suggested.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the key factors for successful employment from the viewpoints of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and employers. Two groups of individuals participated in this study, 40 adults with ASD and 35 employers. Q method was used to understand and contrast the viewpoints of the two groups. Data were analysed using by-person varimax rotation factor analysis. Results showed that although both groups appear committed to the employment process, the difference in their understanding regarding the type of workplace support required, job expectations and productivity requirements continues to hinder successful employment. These results highlight the need to facilitate communication between employees and employers to ensure a clear understanding of the needs of both groups are met. The use of an ASD-specific workplace tool may assist in facilitating the necessary communication between these two groups.
Article
Full-text available
p>Americans with disabilities represent a significant proportion of the population. Despite their numbers and the economic hardships they face, disability is often excluded from general sociological studies of stratification and inequality. To address some of these omissions, this paper focuses on employment and earnings inequality by disability status in the United States since the enactment of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a policy that affects many Americans. After using Current Population Survey data from 1988-2014 to describe these continuing disparities, we review research that incorporates multiple theories to explain continuing gaps in employment and earnings by disability status. In addition to theories pointing to the so-called failures of the ADA, explanations also include general criticisms of the capitalist system and economic downturns, dependence on social welfare and disability benefits, the nature of work, and employer attitudes. We conclude with a call for additional research on disability and discrimination that helps to better situate disability within the American stratification system. </p
Article
Full-text available
There is limited large-scale research into the lived experiences of female adults who have an autism spectrum disorder with no co-occurring intellectual disability. Drawing on the findings of an Australia-wide survey, this report presents self-report data from n = 82 women with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder in the areas of health, education, employment, social and community activities. Where relevant, comparisons are provided with the male subset of the same study population; however, in the majority of analyses, no discernible gender differences emerged. The findings highlight the diverse and complex challenges faced by women with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, including high levels of mental health disorder, unmet support needs in education settings and the workplace, and social exclusion and isolation. © The Author(s) 2015.
Article
Full-text available
Employment is fundamental to the well-being of individuals including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purposes of this review are to provide an overview of employment-related research in individuals with ASD and increase our understanding of the factors that affect the employment situation of this population. Topics explored are employment outcomes revealed from adult outcome studies and national datasets as well as internal and external challenges that people with ASD may face in finding and maintaining employment. Social difficulties, comorbidity, education level, family support, employers’ attitudes, access to services, and disability incentives have been implicated as factors that play an important role in predicting employment. Existing research evidence for specific employment training programs and strategies to successful employment are also introduced in regards to supported employment, transition services, assistive technology, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Finally, implications from both clinical practice and research perspective are provided.
Article
Full-text available
Research dealing with various aspects of* the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985, 1987) is reviewed, and some unresolved issues are discussed. In broad terms, the theory is found to be well supported by empirical evidence. Intentions to perform behaviors of different kinds can be predicted with high accuracy from attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control; and these intentions, together with perceptions of behavioral control, account for considerable variance in actual behavior. Attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are shown to be related to appropriate sets of salient behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about the behavior, but the exact nature of these relations is still uncertain. Expectancy— value formulations are found to be only partly successful in dealing with these relations. Optimal rescaling of expectancy and value measures is offered as a means of dealing with measurement limitations. Finally, inclusion of past behavior in the prediction equation is shown to provide a means of testing the theory*s sufficiency, another issue that remains unresolved. The limited available evidence concerning this question shows that the theory is predicting behavior quite well in comparison to the ceiling imposed by behavioral reliability.
Article
Full-text available
Background: Asperger’s syndrome in adulthood is frequently associated with depression, but few studies have explored the lifetime experience of self-reported suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts in this clinical group. We aimed to assess this prevalence in a clinical cohort of patients in the UK. Method: In a clinical cohort study, we undertook a retrospective analysis of clinical survey data from adults newly diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at a specialist diagnostic clinic between Jan 23, 2004, and July 8, 2013, in England. Patients completed a self-report questionnaire before clinical assessment, recording lifetime experience of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide plans or attempts, along with self-reported measures of autistic traits and empathy. We compared the rate of suicidal ideation in the sample with published rates of suicidal ideation in the general population and other clinical groups. We also assessed associations between depression, autistic traits, empathy, and likelihood of suicidal ideation and suicide plans or attempts. Findings: 374 adults (256 men and 118 women) were diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in the study period. 243 (66%) of 367 respondents self-reported suicidal ideation, 127 (35%) of 365 respondents self-reported plans or attempts at suicide, and 116 (31%) of 368 respondents self-reported depression. Adults with Asperger’s syndrome were significantly more likely to report lifetime experience of suicidal ideation than were individuals from a general UK population sample (odds ratio 9•6 [95% CI 7•6–11•9], p<0•0001), people with one, two, or more medical illnesses (p<0•0001), or people with psychotic illness (p=0•019). Compared with people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome without depression, people with Asperger’s syndrome and depression were more likely to report suicidal ideation (p<0•0001) and suicide plans or attempts (p<0•0001). Interpretation: Our findings lend support to anecdotal reports of increased rates of suicidal ideation in adults with Asperger’s syndrome, and depression as an important potential risk factor for suicidality in adults with this condition. Because adults with Asperger’s syndrome often have many risk factors for secondary depression (e.g., social isolation or exclusion, and unemployment), our findings emphasise the need for appropriate service planning and support to reduce risk in this clinical group.
Article
Full-text available
Relatively little is known about the pathways youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) take in the transition to adulthood in terms of employment and postsecondary education (PSE). Applying life course sequence analysis to a nationally representative sample of youth with ASDs (N = 120), this study clustered various longitudinal sequences into three typical transition groups in the 6 years after high school exit: primarily focused on PSE (57.4%), continuously or increasingly disengaged (i.e., not employed nor in PSE, 29.0%), and primarily focused on employment (13.6%). All three groups experienced unique struggles in the transition to adulthood. We found variations in disproportionate transition patterns by gender, family income, functional cognitive skills, and conversational skills. Policy implications are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
The rise in the measured prevalence of autism has been accompanied by much new research and research investment internationally. This study sought to establish whether the pattern of current UK autism research funding maps on to the concerns of the autism community. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with autistic adults, family members, practitioners and researchers to identify their priorities for research. We also captured the views of a large number of stakeholders via an online survey. There was a clear disparity between the United Kingdom's pattern of funding for autism research and the priorities articulated by the majority of participants. There was general consensus that future priorities for autism research should lie in those areas that make a difference to people's day-to-day lives. There needs to be greater involvement of the autism community both in priority setting and in research more broadly to ensure that resources reach where they are most needed and can make the most impact.
Article
Full-text available
There is limited large-scale empirical research into the working lives of adults who have an autism spectrum disorder with no co-occurring intellectual disability. Drawing on data from a national survey, this report describes the employment activities and experiences of 130 adults with Asperger's Disorder (AD) and high functioning autism (HFA) in Australia. Outcome measures include current occupation; occupational skill level and alignment with educational attainment; type of job contract; hours of work; support received to find work; support received in the workplace; and positive and negative experiences of employment. The findings confirm and expand upon existing evidence that adults with AD and HFA, despite their capacity and willingness to work, face significant disadvantages in the labour market and a lack of understanding and support in employment settings.
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about postsecondary pathways and persistence among college students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, 2001-2009, a nationally representative sample of students in special education with an ASD who progressed from high school to postsecondary education. Findings suggest that most college students with an ASD enrolled in a 2-year community college at some point in the postsecondary careers (81 %). Those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields were more likely to persist in a 2-year community college and were twice as likely to transfer from a 2-year community college to a 4-year university than their peers in the non-STEM fields. College persistence rates varied by gender, race, parent education level, and college pathway and major. Educational policy implications are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
In this article the authors provide a description and evaluation of a vocational support program for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They followed 9 participants through 2 years of the program. Increases in employment rates and income were found for program participants, and 7 participants retained their initial job placements through the 2-year period. Employers rated program participants highly on a range of important job skills, although these individuals continued to experience social challenges in the workplace. Case notes offer further insight into the experiences of adults with ASD in the workplace. Overall, the results suggest that individuals on the autism spectrum can be successful in competitive, entry-level employment.
Article
Full-text available
A review of literature on employers' attitudes toward workers with disabilities was completed. Factors that may affect employers' attitudes toward persons with disabilities in the workforce are provided, as well as a description of the methodologies used in the investigations. Although several key themes emerge, decades of employer attitudinal research has generally produced inconsistent findings due to variations in research design.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, I examine how and why the situated knowledge and lived experiences of working-class African American women shape their standpoint on information technology (IT). Using the biblical metaphor of the exodus and narratives of ascent, these women view IT access and training as part of a strategy for escaping poverty and despair. Whereas most of the extant gender and IT research provides rich insights into the marginalization of women, the women in this study felt empowered by IT. This contradictory outcome has three implications for the study of gender and IT. First, researchers must consider the multiple identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and sexuality that shape and are shaped by women's engagement with IT. Second, the notion of IT workforce should take into account not only the highly skilled IT workers who design and build IT artifacts, but should also consider the lower skilled workers who indirectly use IT. Third, IT training programs that serve working-class women must go beyond the transfer of IT skills to individuals. They must also redress the persistent structural barriers of poverty, spatial isolation, illiteracy, sporadic work, and racial and ethnic discrimination that systematically limit women's ability to compete for jobs that provide higher incomes, greater safety, more security, full-time hours, increased benefits, higher status, and less stressful work environments.
Article
Full-text available
Little research has examined the popular belief that individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely than the general population to gravitate toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, a nationally representative sample of students with an ASD in special education. Findings suggest that students with an ASD had the highest STEM participation rates although their college enrollment rate was the third lowest among 11 disability categories and students in the general population. Disproportionate postsecondary enrollment and STEM participation by gender, family income, and mental functioning skills were found for young adults with an ASD. Educational policy implications are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) tend to have sensory processing difficulties (Baranek et al. in J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:591-601, 2006). These difficulties include over- and under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli, and problems modulating sensory input (Ben-Sasson et al. in J Autism Dev Disorders 39:1-11, 2009). As those with ASD exist at the extreme end of a continuum of autistic traits that is also evident in the general population, we investigated the link between ASD and sensory sensitivity in the general population by administering two questionnaires online to 212 adult participants. Results showed a highly significant positive correlation (r = .775, p < .001) between number of autistic traits and the frequency of sensory processing problems. These data suggest a strong link between sensory processing and autistic traits in the general population, which in turn potentially implicates sensory processing problems in social interaction difficulties.
Article
Full-text available
We examined the prevalence and correlates of postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Data were from a nationally representative survey of parents, guardians, and young adults with an ASD. Participation in postsecondary employment, college, or vocational education and lack of participation in any of these activities were examined. Rates were compared with those of youth in 3 other eligibility categories: speech/language impairment, learning disability, and mental retardation. Logistic regression was used to examine correlates of each outcome. For youth with an ASD, 34.7% had attended college and 55.1% had held paid employment during the first 6 years after high school. More than 50% of youth who had left high school in the past 2 years had no participation in employment or education. Youth with an ASD had the lowest rates of participation in employment and the highest rates of no participation compared with youth in other disability categories. Higher income and higher functional ability were associated with higher adjusted odds of participation in postsecondary employment and education. Youth with an ASD have poor postsecondary employment and education outcomes, especially in the first 2 years after high school. Those from lower-income families and those with greater functional impairments are at heightened risk for poor outcomes. Further research is needed to understand how transition planning before high school exit can facilitate a better connection to productive postsecondary activities.
Article
Full-text available
The need for useful evidence about services is increasing as larger numbers of children identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) age toward adulthood. The objective of this review was to characterize the topical and methodological aspects of research on services for supporting success in work, education, and social participation among adults with an ASD and to propose recommendations for moving this area of research forward. We reviewed the literature published in English from 2000 to 2010 and found that the evidence base about services for adults with an ASD is underdeveloped and can be considered a field of inquiry that is relatively unformed. Extant research does not reflect the demographic or impairment heterogeneity of the population, the range of services that adults with autism require to function with purposeful lives in the community, and the need for coordination across service systems and sectors. Future studies must examine issues related to cost and efficiency, given the broader sociopolitical and economic context of service provision. Further, future research needs to consider how demographic and impairment heterogeneity have implications for building an evidence base that will have greater external validity.
Article
Ten women with autism spectrum disorder participated in oral interviews in order to share their experiences since their diagnosis and to discuss the factors that had enabled them to achieve success in different aspects of their life. Participants were encouraged to share their perspectives on their success and to discuss the challenges they encountered in their daily lives and how they overcame these. Interviews were analysed using a narrative-themed approach. Participants indicated that both internal and external factors enabled them to achieve success in different aspects of their lives. These included being an agent of change, a changed identity after diagnosis, experiencing the belief of others in their capability and seeing themselves as a mentor to others. Their experiences with overcoming obstacles in their lives enabled them to develop self-efficacy and to shape their own success.
Article
To improve employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorder, it is necessary to identify factors associated with successful transition to work from the perspectives of the individual and from those who work with or support them. This study involved focus groups with adults with autism spectrum disorder ( n = 9) participating in a 3-year employment and training programme, as well as focus groups with family members ( n = 6), support staff ( n = 7) and co-workers ( n = 6). The aim was to gain better understanding of the experience of transition to work, barriers and also the factors that promote workplace success. Main themes included factors that facilitated success at work ( Enablers), barriers to success ( Challenges) and programme outcomes ( Outcomes). Organisation support, advice from co-workers, supportive leadership, allowance of environmental modifications and presence of a consultant were identified as enablers that most facilitated success at work. Challenges included task-related difficulties, individual factors, social difficulties and distractibility, not managing work-related stress, and being perceived to be too frank. Outcomes were rated as positive and encompassed work-related outcomes, as well as outcomes related to sense of purpose, achieving personal independence and improvements in social relationships, both with work colleagues and within families.
Article
Research on the experience of growing older with autism is very limited. In this study, 13 people with autism aged over 50 years participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences of diagnosis, social support and getting older. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Three overarching themes were generated: difference, life review and longing for connection. Prior to diagnosis, individuals had awareness of their difficulties, attributed these to intrinsic difference and engaged in a deliberate process of reducing the visibility of this difference. Diagnosis prompted a process of life review and externalisation, whereby past negative experiences were reattributed to autism as opposed to the self. Loneliness, isolation and yearning for interpersonal connection were ubiquitous and longstanding. Autism support and social groups were highly valued, offering opportunities for belonging, acceptance and social comparison. Results highlight the similarity to younger age groups in terms of lived experience and need for greater support, particularly with respect to reducing isolation and improving access to diagnosis.
Article
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder face significant challenges entering the workforce; yet research in this area is limited and the issues are poorly understood. In this systematic review, empirical peer-reviewed studies on employment programmes, interventions and employment-related outcomes in individuals with autism spectrum disorder over 18 years with and without intellectual disability were identified and evaluated. The review was prefaced by a summary of previous systematic reviews in the area. Web of Science, Medline, PsychINFO, ERIC and Scopus databases were systematically searched through to October 2015. From 32,829 records identified in the initial search, 10 review and 50 empirical articles, comprising N = 58,134 individuals with autism spectrum disorder, were included in the review. Selected articles were organised into the following themes: employment experiences, employment as a primary outcome, development of workplace skills, non-employment-related outcomes, assessment instruments, employer-focused and economic impact. Empirical studies were limited by poor participant characterisation, small sample size and/or a lack of randomisation and use of appropriate controls. Poor conceptualisation and measurement of outcomes significantly limited study quality and interpretation. Future research will require a multidisciplinary and multifaceted approach to explore employment outcomes on the individual, the family system, co-workers and the employer, along with the impact of individual differences on outcome.
Conference Paper
Technology workers are often stereotyped as being socially awkward or having difficulty communicating, often with humorous intent; however, for many technology workers with atypical cognitive profiles, such issues are no laughing matter. In this paper, we explore the hidden lives of neurodiverse technology workers, e.g., those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and/or other learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. We present findings from interviews with 10 neurodiverse technology workers, identifying the challenges that impede these employees from fully realizing their potential in the workplace. Based on the interview findings, we developed a survey that was taken by 846 engineers at a large software company. In this paper, we reflect on the differences between the neurotypical (N = 781) and neurodiverse (N = 59) respondents. Technology companies struggle to attract, develop, and retain talented software developers; our findings offer insight into how employers can better support the needs of this important worker constituency.
Article
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) is the cornerstone of civil rights policy for people with disabilities. Although enforced through the justice system, the legacy of the ADA transcends well beyond its legal ramifications. The policy’s framework and the rhetoric of Disability Rights suggest both an embrace of the spirit and the letter of the law, or promulgating both legislative and cultural change to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are met. In attempting to understand how and if such change has happened, researchers have gathered extensive evidence since 1990. Much of this research evidence, however, remains fragmented, under-utilized, and at times inconclusive. This article presents the results of a rapid evidence review of a sample of such research that is crucial to understand the ADA’s progress. The study examines evidence about the ADA’s influence on knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about employment of people with disabilities. The research illustrates the importance of moving beyond the law to incorporate changes in knowledge about the law, perceptions of employability, and workplace culture.
Article
This article reports the results of an evaluation of the impact on employment on the quality of life reported by a sample of people with an intellectual disability drawn from the register of Edge Employment Solutions incorporated, a large Australian competitive employment agency. Specifically, the article compares the quality of life of a group of individuals placed in open employment through the agency (some of who previously attended a sheltered workshop) with that of a matched sample of individuals seeking employment through the agency (all of whom were unemployed, but some of whom attended a sheltered workshop, whilst the others remained at home.) The results indicate that employed individuals report a statistically significantly higher quality of life than their unemployed counterparts. Amongst the employed group, no statistically significant difference in quality of life was reported by those who previously had attended a sheltered workshop and those who previously had remained at home. Amongst the unemployed group, no statistically significant difference in the quality of life reported by individuals attending a sheltered workshop and those remaining at home, was observed.
Article
The purpose of this pilot study was to seek consumer perspectives on strategies for improving vocational placement and job retention services for individuals with Asperger Syndrome and other autism spectrum disabilities (ASDs). For this purpose, 18 adults with ASDs were individually interviewed about their experiences within the workplace. Participants were asked to (a) describe positive and negative aspects of their vocational experiences, (b) identify major obstacles to successful employment, and (c) recommend appropriate vocational supports to be provided by vocational rehabilitation counselors, employers and co-workers. Qualitative analyses of the interview transcripts revealed a number of common experiences and concerns which suggest the needs of individuals with ASDs should be recognized as different from others with more generalized developmental disabilities and/or mental retardation.
Article
This article unpacks the stigma associated with a developmental disability at work, specifically autism spectrum disorders (ASD), by presenting findings from 2 studies-one interview-based and the other survey-based. Drawing on in-depth interviews with individuals on the autism spectrum, the first study showed that a clinical diagnosis of autism is a milestone event that triggered both positive (silver linings) and negative (dark clouds) responses to work. These positive and negative responses were shaped by the age at which the diagnosis occurred as well as specific work-related contingencies-identity management (disclosing or not disclosing), the importance of the social demands imposed by the job, and organizational support polices for autism. The second study developed and tested propositions derived from the qualitative data by using survey data gathered from working adults with ASD. Results showed that, compared with individuals diagnosed later in life, individuals who were diagnosed at an earlier age experienced greater organization-based self-esteem and lower perceived discrimination when they disclosed their disability, worked in jobs that placed lower social demands on them, or were employed in organizations that offered policies to support workers with ASD. We conclude that, depending on the age of diagnosis, attributes of the employment context can trigger stigma-related threat in different ways and we outline important practical implications of these findings. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Few studies investigate what members of the general population know about individuals with autism. Only one study has previously investigated how beliefs about autism differ from those about other psychiatric disorders. This study surveyed a convenience sample of the general adult population, within the Northern Region of Denmark, about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about individuals with autism and schizophrenia. The respondents (N = 440) possessed basic knowledge and were able to differentiate between the two disorders. Schizophrenia was associated with perceived danger (32.8%), while autism was associated with high intelligence (40.1%) and creativity (27.3%). Respondents were more positive towards interacting with individuals with autism (p < 0.001), but desire for social distancing was pronounced for both disorders in more intimate relationships. Significantly, more respondents reported that they would find it difficult and feel ashamed with regard to being diagnosed with schizophrenia (p < 0.001). Conversely, respondents significantly reported being more likely to elaborate on their diagnosis of autism to their colleagues (p < 0.001). Perceived dangerousness decreased the willingness for social interactions, while knowing someone with autism or schizophrenia increased the willingness to socially interact. Misconceptions and stigma must be addressed in order to minimize the social stigma and rejection associated with these disorders and ultimately improve the quality of life and psychological well-being of affected individuals and their families. © The Author(s) 2015.
Article
Recent public discussions suggest that there is much disagreement about the way autism is and should be described. This study sought to elicit the views and preferences of UK autism community members - autistic people, parents and their broader support network - about the terms they use to describe autism. In all, 3470 UK residents responded to an online survey on their preferred ways of describing autism and their rationale for such preferences. The results clearly show that people use many terms to describe autism. The most highly endorsed terms were 'autism' and 'on the autism spectrum', and to a lesser extent, 'autism spectrum disorder', for which there was consensus across community groups. The groups disagreed, however, on the use of several terms. The term 'autistic' was endorsed by a large percentage of autistic adults, family members/friends and parents but by considerably fewer professionals; 'person with autism' was endorsed by almost half of professionals but by fewer autistic adults and parents. Qualitative analysis of an open-ended question revealed the reasons underlying respondents' preferences. These findings demonstrate that there is no single way of describing autism that is universally accepted and preferred by the UK's autism community and that some disagreements appear deeply entrenched. © The Author(s) 2015.
Article
Despite over 20 years of intervention programmes,the gender balance in the computing profession is not improving. It has been suggested that the problem with much of the research on gender and computing is that it is under-theorised. The contribution of this study is an evaluation framework, designed to evaluate gender and computing interventions, which will advance the theorisation of research through programme evaluation. This study was undertaken in three phases: The first involved theory building through an extensive review of the literature resulting in a conceptual framework for intervention programme evaluation. The second phase consisted of a multiple-case study of 14 major intervention programmes in Australia. Subsequent modifications to the conceptual framework resulted in the gender and computing intervention evaluation framework. The value of the framework was confirmed in phase three by intervention experts and showed that applying the framework will help programme champions to evaluate their programmes more thoroughly. The dissemination of sound evaluation results will then enable a deeper theorisation of the issues surrounding gender and computing interventions.
Article
Importance The economic effect of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) on individuals with the disorder, their families, and society as a whole is poorly understood and has not been updated in light of recent findings.Objective To update estimates of age-specific, direct, indirect, and lifetime societal economic costs, including new findings on indirect costs, such as individual and parental productivity costs, associated with ASDs.Design, Setting, and Participants A literature review was conducted of US and UK studies on individuals with ASDs and their families in October 2013 using the following keywords: age, autism spectrum disorder, prevalence, accommodation, special education, productivity loss, employment, costs, and economics. Current data on prevalence, level of functioning, and place of residence were combined with mean annual costs of services and support, opportunity costs, and productivity losses of individuals with ASDs with or without intellectual disability.Exposure Presence of ASDs.Main Outcomes and Measures Mean annual medical, nonmedical, and indirect economic costs and lifetime costs were measured for individuals with ASDs separately for individuals with and without intellectual disability in the United States and the United Kingdom.Results The cost of supporting an individual with an ASD and intellectual disability during his or her lifespan was $2.4 million in the United States and £1.5 million (US $2.2 million) in the United Kingdom. The cost of supporting an individual with an ASD without intellectual disability was $1.4 million in the United States and £0.92 million (US $1.4 million) in the United Kingdom. The largest cost components for children were special education services and parental productivity loss. During adulthood, residential care or supportive living accommodation and individual productivity loss contributed the highest costs. Medical costs were much higher for adults than for children.Conclusions and Relevance The substantial direct and indirect economic effect of ASDs emphasizes the need to continue to search for effective interventions that make best use of scarce societal resources. The distribution of economic effect across many different service systems raises questions about coordination of services and sectors. The enormous effect on families also warrants policy attention.
Article
This paper reports on an investigation of career anchors of women in the information technology (IT) workforce that was directed at enhancing within-gender theorising about career motivations of women in the IT profession. Our theoretical lens, the individual differences theory of gender and IT, enabled us to look more critically at how the effects of interventions are embedded in the range of women's career anchors that takes within-gender variation into account. The analysis demonstrates that organisational interventions must be flexible enough to account for the diversity and variation among women. Further, the analysis shows that it is necessary to move away from ‘one size fits all’ organisational interventions that often reflect stereotypes about women in the IT workforce. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
The recent business trends of globalization and increasing ethnic and gender diversity are turning managers' attention to the management of cultural differences. The management literature has suggested that organizations should value diversity to enhance organizational effectiveness. However, the specific link between managing diversity and organizational competitiveness is rarely made explicit and no article has reviewed actual research data supporting such a link. This article reviews arguments and research data on how managing diversity can create a competitive advantage. We address cost, attraction of human resources, marketing success, creativity and innovation, problem-solving quality, and organizational flexibility as six dimensions of business performance directly impacted by the management of cultural diversity. We then offer suggestions for improving organizational capability to manage this diversity.
Article
The number of students entering college with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is expected to surge in coming years. The diagnostic features and psychiatric risks of ASD, coupled with the transitions and stresses that define college life, present extraordinary challenges for these students, their parents, and institutions of higher education. This article applies a bioecological framework for conceptualizing the systemic strengths and barriers at the secondary and postsecondary levels of education in supporting students with ASD. This theoretical orientation is used to illustrate the importance of offering services and programs in a more coordinated and fluid manner within and between systems to support students more effectively. Evidence-based programs, practices, and interventions associated with successful academic and mental health outcomes for youth and young adults with ASD, as well as for college students with mental health and other challenges, are reviewed for their applicability to the target population. It is proposed that more fluid transitions and improved mental health and academic outcomes for college students with ASD can be achieved by integrating elements from secondary and postsecondary educational systems and also from existing, effective approaches with youth and young adults. Building upon the disjointed, but promising, evidence from youth, young adult, and college mental health literatures, recommendations for developing more effective transition plans for students with ASD are proposed.
Article
The value-in-diversity perspective argues that a diverse workforce, relative to a homogeneous one, is generally beneficial for business, including but not limited to corporate profits and earnings. This is in contrast to other accounts that view diversity as either nonconsequential to business success or actually detrimental by creating conflict, undermining cohesion, and thus decreasing productivity. Using data from the 1996 to 1997 National Organizations Survey, a national sample of for-profit business organizations, this article tests eight hypotheses derived from the value-in-diversity thesis. The results support seven of these hypotheses: racial diversity is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, greater market share, and greater relative profits. Gender diversity is associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, and greater relative profits. I discuss the implications of these findings relative to alternative views of diversity in the workplace.
Article
Differences in rates of case closure, case service cost, hours worked per week, and weekly wage between customers with autism closed successfully in competitive employment and supported employment were found using the Rehabilitation Service Administration national database of 2001. Using logistic regression, customer demographic variables related to successful competitive employment included age, years of education, and presence of a secondary disability. Case service variables related to successful competitive employment included job finding, job placement, and maintenance. Of customer demographic variables related to successful supported employment, White customers were more likely to be closed successfully. Job placement was the case service variable related to successful supported employment. Implications for rehabilitation professionals and for future research on vocational rehabilitation outcomes with customers with autism are provided.
Article
Six adults With Asperger syndrome (AS) Were intervieWed about their experiences regarding employment. Methods included conducting initial and folloW-up intervieWs, either in person, on the phone, or via e-mail. Repeatedly, difficulties and problems interfering With employment success emerged. All of the adults Who Were intervieWed had difficulty finding Work that Was commensurate With their ability levels and had difficulty maintaining jobs. Recommendations for parents and professionals Working With adults With AS are provided.
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to critically examine reasons for disproportionately high levels of exclusion from the workplace of adults with Asperger syndrome. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology adopted involves empirical analysis of secondary, qualitative datasets. The twin datasets applied are examined using labour process analysis. Findings – The main findings highlight the role of new and subtle forms of management control, a deficient yet necessary conflict dynamic in the employment relationship, and a reluctance of employers to involve third parties, in the exclusion process. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited because of the use of secondary datasets. Further research should be based on primary data collection and analysis, particularly in terms of seeking the views of other important parties to the exclusion process. Practical implications – The problem of exclusion is unlikely to be improved without considering strategies to address the challenging customary social relations between employer and employee. Social implications – Improving employment inclusion is likely to reduce mental health problems for adults with Asperger syndrome and reduce the burden on those who play a broader supporting role. Originality/value – The topic of Asperger syndrome and employment has yet to permeate the academic literature on human resource management, employment relations and organisation studies.
Article
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have the ability and desire to work, but there are still several obstructions. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates disappointing employment outcomes for this group. The vast majority is unemployed and for those who do have gainful employment, underemployment is common. The increased prevalence of ASD coupled with unique social, communication, and behavioral characteristics translate into the need for services to help them achieve employment success. Consideration of individual characteristics including strengths, needs, as well as specific interests, coupled with implementation of proper supports can result in successful and ongoing employment. This paper provides a review of evi-dence based research related to employment for individuals with ASD. Specific areas addressed include benefits of employment, state of employment, obstacles to employment, current service options, and an in depth review of supports needed for success. These supports focus not only on job tasks, but also the interpersonal skills needed to foster a positive work experience.
Article
This article reviews relevant literature as to the labor pool of qualified individuals with disabilities and employment in information technology (IT) sector jobs. First, the article reviews the empirical literature on barriers to employment in IT for persons with disabilities. The examination then is extended to studies of barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities in other employment sectors. Findings illustrate the limited experiences that IT and non-IT companies have in employing and accommodating employees with disabilities. Implications are discussed for enhancing the employment of qualified workers with disabilities in IT through research, education, training, and mentoring programs. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) has received considerable attention in the literature. The present study is a quantitative integration and review of that research. From a database of 185 independent studies published up to the end of 1997, the TPB accounted for 27% and 39% of the variance in behaviour and intention, respectively. The perceived behavioural control (PBC) construct accounted for significant amounts of variance in intention and behaviour, independent of theory of reasoned action variables. When behaviour measures were self-reports, the TPB accounted for 11% more of the variance in behaviour than when behaviour measures were objective or observed (R2s = .31 and .21, respectively). Attitude, subjective norm and PBC account for significantly more of the variance in individuals' desires than intentions or self-predictions, but intentions and self-predictions were better predictors of behaviour. The subjective norm construct is generally found to be a weak predictor of intentions. This is partly attributable to a combination of poor measurement and the need for expansion of the normative component. The discussion focuses on ways in which current TPB research can be taken forward in the light of the present review.
Article
Abstract Purpose,– This article aims to add to the growing,number,of critical empirical studies and to reflect on the process of conducting this type of research, thereby addressing the lack of exemplars for those engaged,with critical empirical information systems,research. Design/methodology/approach,– Applies the critical lens to a multi-year examination,of variation in the career narratives of women,in the American,IT labor force. While an interpretive epistemology was initially chosen for this research project, over time, analysis of interview data took on an increasingly critical orientation. This, in turn, influenced subsequent fieldwork to become critical in nature. Findings,– One theoretical contribution is highlighting the role of power,dynamics,in understanding what,sits beneath,the surface of observations,about these women’s experiences,in the IT workforce. The second theoretical contribution is helping to shift the focus away,from predominantly,essentialist theories that dichotomize,men and women,and toward a recognition of the diversity among,women,in the IT field. Research,limitations/implications,– Future research should include additional critical empirical studies of women,in the IT field in other countries. Practical implications,– This research project can serve as a useful example,for other critical IS researchers about to embark,on empirical fieldwork. Originality/value – This paper provides,a concrete illustration of the way,in which,empirical research is altered as the epistemological lens shifts from interpretivist to critical. Keywords Research, Gender, Information, Technology led strategy, Women workers Paper type,Research paper
Article
This paper develops a theoretical perspective on gender and information technology (IT) by examining socio-cultural influences on women who are members of the information technology profession in Australia and New Zealand. In-depth interviews with both practitioners and academics give evidence of a range of socio-cultural influences on the professional development and working lives of women IT professionals. The paper rejects the essentialist view of women and their relationship to IT that has been put forth in the information systems literature arguing, instead, the primacy of societal and structural influences. The particular contribution of this paper is a theoretical perspective of individual differences which is presented to characterize the way individual women respond in a range of specific ways to the interplay between individual characteristics and environmental influences. This perspective contributes to a better understanding of women’s involvement in the IT sector and suggests areas for proactive policy response.