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Do Sheltered Workshops Enhance Employment Outcomes for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder?


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This study investigated whether sheltered workshops help prepare individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for competitive employment within the community. Two groups of individuals were compared: (a) 215 supported employees who were in sheltered workshops prior to entering supported employment and (b) 215 supported employees who were not in sheltered workshops. Individuals from both groups were matched based on their primary diagnosis, secondary diagnosis (if present), and gender. Results showed that there were no differences in rates of employment between these two groups. However, individuals who participated in sheltered workshops earned significantly less (US$129.36 versus US$191.42 per week), and cost significantly more to serve (US$6,065.08 versus US$2,440.60), than their non-sheltered workshop peers. Results presented here suggest that individuals with ASD achieve better vocational outcomes if they do not participate in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment.
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DOI: 10.1177/1362361311408129
2012 16: 87 originally published online 24 May 2011Autism
Robert Evert Cimera, Paul Wehman, Michael West and Sloane Burgess
spectrum disorder?
Do sheltered workshops enhance employment outcomes for adults with autism
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16(1) 87 –94
© The Author(s) 2012
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DOI: 10.1177/1362361311408129
Do sheltered workshops
enhance employment
outcomes for adults with
autism spectrum disorder?
Robert Evert Cimera
Kent State University, Ohio, USA
Paul Wehman
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Michael West
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Sloane Burgess
Kent State University, Ohio, USA
This study investigated whether sheltered workshops help prepare individuals with autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) for competitive employment within the community. Two groups of individuals
were compared: (a) 215 supported employees who were in sheltered workshops prior to entering
supported employment and (b) 215 supported employees who were not in sheltered workshops.
Individuals from both groups were matched based on their primary diagnosis, secondary diagnosis
(if present), and gender. Results showed that there were no differences in rates of employment
between these two groups. However, individuals who participated in sheltered workshops
earned significantly less (US$129.36 versus US$191.42 per week), and cost signi ficantly more
to serve (US$6,065.08 versus US$2,440.60), than their non-sheltered workshop peers. Results
presented here suggest that individuals with ASD achieve better vocational outcomes if they do
not participate in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment.
autism spectrum disorder, sheltered workshops, supported employment
Corresponding author:
Robert Evert Cimera, 405 White Hall, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA.
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88 Autism 16(1)
In the United States, approximately 7000 facility-based programs (e.g. sheltered workshops) serve
542,127 adults with mental, physical, and emotional disabilities (Braddock et al., 2008). These
programs offer skill training, special certificate subminimum wage work, prevocational services,
group work placements, and recreation and leisure activities. Each year, many young people with
autism, intellectual disabilities, and psychiatric conditions are referred to sheltered workshops as
the first step in their vocational rehabilitation process.
The underlying premise of sheltered workshops is that jobseekers with disabilities need cer-
tain skills prior to becoming competitively employed within the community. Further, sheltered
workshops and other facility-based programs are thought to teach jobseekers these skills and
‘prepare’ them for working in the community. Although much has been written about sheltered
workshops over the years, most of this discussion has been either on the merits of the philoso-
phies guiding sheltered workshops or their costs compared with those generated by supported
employment (cf. Bellamy et al., 1986; Mallas, 1976; Parent et al., 1989; Rosen et al., 1993;
Schuster, 1990; West et al., 1998; Whitehead, 1979, 1986). To date, very little attention has
focused upon whether sheltered workshops actually provide beneficial skills to jobseekers with
disabilities. In other words, it is unclear as to whether sheltered workshops are value-added
In economics, ‘value-added’ is the difference between the sale price of an item and the cost of
all of the materials and services utilized to create it (Levin and McEwan, 2000). Value-added,
therefore, is a term for the measurement of the enhancement that the company gives to its raw
materials when creating its products. Such a concept is often used when people are contemplating
selling their homes. For instance, sellers may evaluate the needs of updating their home (e.g.
remodeling a kitchen or adding another bathroom) in the hopes of improving the property’s mar-
ketability and sale price. In these evaluations, sellers may try to determine whether the costs of
completing the updates will be less than the eventual sale price of the home (i.e. the updates will
produce more benefits than costs or will be value-added).
The concept of value-added may appear foreign when put in the context of vocational services
for adults with disabilities; however, it lies at the heart of what all human service programs strive
to obtain. That is to say, we hope that our students, clients, or customers leave our programs better
off than when they first enter them. The specific outcomes depend on the program’s unique mis-
sion, but regardless of the program analyzed, it is hope that what is added to participants will
benefit them well into their future. Within this discussion, the question arises: ‘Do individuals who
participate in sheltered workshops benefit from the experience?’
To investigate this issue, a recent study (Cimera, in press) examined two groups of supported
employees – 4904 individuals with cognitive disabilities who were in sheltered workshops at the
time they enrolled in supported employment and 4904 individuals with cognitive disabilities who
were not in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment. Individuals in both
cohorts were matched by their disability, the presence of a secondary disability, and their gender.
Cimera found that although both groups were equally likely to be employed (59.6% versus 60.4%,
respectively), individuals from sheltered workshops worked signi ficantly fewer hours, earned sub-
stantially less wages, and cost 74.8% more to serve than individuals who were not transitioning
from sheltered workshops. The author’s conclusion was that, for adults with cognitive disabilities,
sheltered workshops were ‘negative value-added’. That is, participating in sheltered workshops
diminished the future outcomes achieved once individuals became competitively employed, per-
haps because the skills and behaviors individuals learned in sheltered workshops had to be
‘unlearned’ in order for the workers to be successful in the community. It may be, however, that
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Cimera et al. 89
sheltered workshops are more beneficial for certain populations than others, such as adults with
autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
As the numbers of individuals diagnosed with ASD continues to increase, so too has the interest
in the support services that they require to transition to adult life and succeed in the community
(cf. Chappel and Somers, 2010; Wehman, 2011). Therefore, it is critical to gain more evidence on
the vocational outcomes and benefits associated with participation in sheltered workshops since
many young people with ASD will present highly challenging communication and social behaviors
that could potentially route them into such programs. In other words, we need to know if sheltered
work is a ‘value-added’ service for these individuals.
The purpose of the present study was to extend the research conducted by Cimera (in press),
which involved only individuals with cognitive dis abilities, by comparing the outcomes of 215
adults with ASD who participated in sheltered workshops prior to applying for vocational rehabili-
tation services with 215 adults with ASD who did not participate in sheltered workshops. Individuals
in both groups were matched by their diagnosis of ASD, any other diagnoses they may have had,
and their gender. Outcomes investigated included: (a) rates of employment, (b) wages earned, (c)
hours worked, and (d) the cost of services received.
The tested hypothesis was that individuals who participated in sheltered workshops prior to
enrolling in supported employment programs would achieve significantly better vocational out-
comes than individuals who had not received pre-supported employment services. In other words,
this study attempted to discern whether individuals with ASD benefited from being in sheltered
workshops (i.e. are sheltered workshops value-added) or whether sheltered workshops actually
impair the vocational outcomes achieved by these persons as was found by Cimera (in press) for
indi viduals with cognitive impairments.
Source of data
The source of data was the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) 911-database. This
national database contains detailed records on all persons who apply for services through voca-
tional rehabilitation. Data are entered by certified rehabilitation counselors and then crosschecked
by two computer programs for potential errors or duplicity (RSA, 2004).
Selection of participants
From 2002 to 2006, vocational rehabilitation counselors closed the cases (i.e. stopped receiving
services) of 3,182,126 individuals. Of these people, 14,378 had diagnoses of ‘autism’ (i.e. ASD).
Approximately 1.5% of these individuals (n = 215) were employed in sheltered workshops at the
time of their application for vocational rehabilitative services.
From the 14,163 individuals with ASD who were not employed in sheltered workshops when they
applied for services, a sample of 215 persons was randomly selected using SPSS’s random select
feature. Individuals selected were matched in pairs to participants from the sheltered workshop cohort
based on their disability (i.e. ‘autism’), their exact secondary dis ability (if present), and their gender.
These variables were identified as selection criteria because previous research has identified these
variables as significantly influencing employment outcomes and costs of services received (Cimera
et al., unpublished data). The demographics of these two cohorts can be found in Table 1.
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90 Autism 16(1)
Disabilities. When an individual applied for services through vocational rehabilitation, they were
assessed by certified rehabilitation counselors. Based on these assessments, their disabling condi-
tions were then classified into 19 different ‘impairment codes’ (e.g. intellectual, physical, sensory
impairments) and 34 ‘cause codes’ (e.g. autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury). This cod-
ing was completed for both their ‘primary’ and ‘secondary disability’ (if present). Secondary dis-
abilities were noted in 74.8% of the participants, ‘mental retardation’ (i.e., cognitive impairments)
accounting for 46.1% of these. About a third of the sample (33.6%) had secondary disabilities
involving mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety dis orders, mental illness not otherwise
Rate of employment. Rate of employment was calculated by dividing the number of individuals
who had their cases officially closed due to obtaining ‘an employment outcome’ (i.e. competitive
employment within an integrated setting earning at or above minimum wage) by the total number
of jobseekers in that cohort.
Wages earned. If participants had their cases closed because they obtained an employment
outcome, vocational rehabilitation counselors documented the participant’s average wages earned
Table 1. Demographics of adults with autism from the sheltered workshop and non-sheltered workshop
Sheltered employees Non-sheltered employees
Sample 215 215
Average (SD) age 31.12 (9.07) years 37.75 (8.90) years
Percent female 20% 20%
Percent male 80% 80%
Percent with secondary conditions 74.8% 74.8%
White 78.5% 83.3%
African American 16.4% 12.1%
Native American 1.9% 0.9%
Asian 4.2% 3.7%
Pacific islander 0.9% 0.5%
Hispanic 5.6% 1.9%
Source of referral to vocational rehabilitation
Educational institution (secondary) 8.4% 39.7%
Educational institution (post-secondary) 1.4% 1.4%
Medical personnel 5.1% 5.1%
Welfare agency 2.8% 0.9%
Community rehabilitation program 46.0% 9.3%
Social security administration 0.0% 1.4%
One-stop employment/training center 0.9% 0.9%
Self-referral 0.6% 17.3%
Other sources 29.3% 23.8%
Note: Participants were able to identify themselves as members of multiple ethnic groups.
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Cimera et al. 91
in a week. Wages earned were gross wages, prior to the deduction of any taxes or other
Hours worked. As with wages earned, vocational rehabilitation counselors also documented the
average number of hours that successfully employed participants worked in a week.
Cost of services. In addition to wages earned and hours worked, vocational rehabilitation counse-
lors indicated in the 911-database the services that each participant received. They also docu-
mented the cost of services that were contracted to outside providers, such as job development and
training. In other words, the costs of services presented here represent the services funded by
vocational rehabilitation, but furnished by someone other than the participant’s vocational rehabili-
tation counselor.
Research questions
This study investigated four research questions. The first sought to determine whether individuals
who received services in sheltered workshops were more likely to be employed than individuals
who had the same demographic backgrounds, but did not receive services in sheltered workshops.
This study also investigated whether previous participation in sheltered workshops increased the
number of hours worked and wages earned in the community. Finally, this study explored whether
there was a significant difference in the cost of services received by these two groups. Differences
in the rates of employment were analyzed using a Pearson chi-square test. A two-tailed t-test for
paired samples was utilized for all other analyses.
Question 1: Do former sheltered workers have a higher rate of employment than individuals
who were not from sheltered workshops?
As shown in Table 2, 98 (45.6%) of the 215 former sheltered workers were employed when their
cases were officially closed by their vocational re habilitation counselors, compared with 85 (39.5%)
of the 215 non- sheltered workers (p = .214).
Table 2. Employment outcomes achieved by adults with autism from the sheltered and non-sheltered
workshop cohorts
Sheltered employees Non-sheltered employees
Sample size 215 215
Employment rate 45.6% 39.5%
Hours worked per week 23.49 (11.40) 24.97 (12.33)
Wages earned per weeka US$129.36 ($89.66) US$191.42 ($118.83)
Cost of services (entire cohort)b US$6,065.08 ($9,879.33) US$2,440.60 ($4,585.63)
Cost of services (employed)c US$8,364.39 ($11,420.70) US$4,212.24 ($5,088.11)
Note: Standard deviations presented in parentheses.
at = 3.60; p = .001.
bt = 4.93; p = .001.
ct = 2.88; p = .001.
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92 Autism 16(1)
Question 2: Do former sheltered employees work more hours than individuals who were not
from sheltered workshops?
Former sheltered employees with ASD who became competitively employed in the community
worked an average of 23.5 hours (SD = 11.4) per week; their matched peers from non-sheltered
workshops worked an average of 25.0 (SD = 12.3). As with rates of employment, the differences
between these groups were not statistically significant.
Question 3: Do former sheltered employees earn more than individuals who were not from
sheltered workshops?
Former sheltered employees who became competitively employed in their community earned
an average of US$129.36 (SD = US$89.66; median = US$106.50) per week, 32.4% less than
the US$191.42 (SD = US$118.83; median = US$152.50) the wages earned by the non-sheltered
workshop group (p = .001).
Question 4: Do former sheltered employees cost less to serve than non-former sheltered
Formerly sheltered workers received services costing vocational rehabilitation an average of
$6065.08 (SD $9879.33) per person. The non-sheltered workshop cohort, however, received ser-
vices costing 59.8% less (M = $2440.60; SD $4585.63) (p <.001). This difference persisted when
comparing only those in each cohort who achieved employment. Former sheltered employees who
became employed as a result of their participation in vocational rehabilitation programs received
services costing an average of $8364.39 (SD $11,420.70) compared with an average of $4212.24
(SD $5088.11) for the employed non-sheltered employees (p = .001).
In order for human service programs to be beneficial, they must give participants skills, aptitudes,
or dispositions that will help them maximize functioning or increase their community participa-
tion. In other words, participants must leave programs better off than when they first entered them.
In economics, this term is often referred to as ‘value-added’. This study examined whether shel-
tered workshops are value-added for indi viduals with ASD.
The tested hypothesis was that individuals who received services in sheltered workshops would
achieve better vocational outcomes than individuals with similar demographics who had not
received such pre- vocational services. Specifically, it was assumed that if sheltered workshops
were beneficial (i.e. value-added programs), individuals from sheltered workshops would be
employed at higher rates, work more hours, earn more wages, and cost less to serve in the com-
munity than individuals who had not received services in sheltered workshops.
The findings here mirror those found by Cimera (in press) for vocational rehabilitation clients
with cognitive disabilities. Specifically, individuals with ASD who transitioned to supported
employment from sheltered workshops were employed in the community at comparable rates and
worked nearly identical hours per week once employed in the community as individuals who had
not transitioned to vocational rehabilitation from sheltered workshops.
When wages earned and cost of services received were examined, individuals from the non-
sheltered workshop group fared much better than their peers who were from sheltered workshops.
More precisely, individuals who did not receive pre-vocational services in sheltered workshops
earned significantly more per week than their peers who did. Further, individuals with ASD who
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Cimera et al. 93
were not in sheltered workshops also generated only 40% of the costs of those who were in shel-
tered workshops.
A limitation of this study is that measures of severity in the RSA dataset are very limited. There
may be other characteristics of the sheltered and non-sheltered cohorts that contributed the dispari-
ties in employment outcomes from vocational rehabilitation services. For example, those with
sheltered work histories could have had more significant barriers to employment (i.e. more behav-
ioral issues than the non-sheltered group). Although individuals in both groups were matched by
primary and secondary conditions, it may be that individuals in sheltered workshops had more
severe impairments than individuals who were not in the sheltered workshop cohort.
Despite this limitation, there are important implications related to these findings. Debate regard-
ing the value of sheltered work for individuals with disabilities in comparison with community-
integrated employment has con tinued since the early 1970s. One of the often stated benefits of
sheltered workshops is that they serve as a stepping-stone to community- integrated employment by
providing essential employment training and work preparation (Inge et al., 2009). That assertion is
called into question by: (a) research findings indicating that only a small percentage of work shop
employees make the transition to integrated employment, even after many years of training and
preparation (Blanck et al., 2003), and (b) findings from this study and from Cimera (in press) indi-
cating that parti cipation in sheltered workshops did not significantly improve chances for eventual
competitive employment within the community.
Additionally, the findings presented here indicate that those who did not receive services in
facility-based programs earned significantly more and had significantly lower service costs than
those who did. Stated another way, this study found that sheltered workshops appeared not to be
‘value-added’. In fact, data presented here suggest that they generated negative value for their par-
ticipants in relation to vocational outcomes in the community (i.e. fewer dollars earned and higher
costs of services to taxpayers).
There are a number of possible explanations for these findings. For instance, motivations of the
non-sheltered clients and their family members to obtain and keep higher paying jobs may be greater
than for the sheltered employees, or that the sheltered employees and their families had more con-
cerns over loss of disability benefits, which were not included in cost calculations in this study. It
is also possible that the sheltered employees were more difficult to place and train as a result of
their workshop experi ences, such as due to learned helplessness or developing work behaviors that
might be acceptable in the sheltered setting but unacceptable in competitive positions.
For adults with ASD and other developmental disabilities, segregated facility-based programs,
such as sheltered workshops, continue to be the primary model of service delivery. Across the
United States, over 88% of participants with intellectual disabilities are being served in segregated
services (Butterworth et al., 2010). Additionally, data collected from the National Longitudinal
Transition Study (NLTS-2) show that secondary students with ASD are more likely to have a post-
school goal of sheltered employment than any other group of students (Cameto et al., 2003). In
order to make informed decisions, individuals with ASD, their families, teachers, and transition
coordinators need to be aware that participation in sheltered workshops may be beneficial in tran-
sitioning jobseekers to competitive employment in the community.
Certainly, other arguments have been made regarding the value of sheltered employment, such as
greater safety, maintaining longstanding social relationships, and lack of available competitive jobs
or transportation in the community (Migliori et al., 2008). This study cannot address those argu-
ments. It can only address the value of sheltered work experiences in pro moting future competitive
employment and improved vocational outcomes, such as higher wages earned. Certainly, the data
presented here to not support an economic argument for the value of sheltered work experiences.
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94 Autism 16(1)
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... Across all included studies, participation in segregated vocational services (as a preparatory practice) did not result in better employment outcomes for individuals with IDD. While two studies found no significant differences between groups (prior segregation vs integration) concerning the likelihood of becoming engaged in employment as broadly defined by these studies (not exclusively CIE), not having previous experience in a preparatory workshop was associated with higher earnings and lower service costs for individuals with ASD and ID, and more hours worked per week for individuals with ID (Cimera, 2011a;Cimera et al., 2012). Furthermore, Blanck et al. (2003) found that participants of segregated vocational services were more likely to regress their career prospects (i.e., type of job, earnings) over time. ...
... This systematic review of the literature found little evidence of an association between segregated vocational services and any meaningful positive outcomes in terms of CIE. In fact, not only did segregated vocational services not serve as a useful training process in furthering the careers of individuals with IDD, there was evidence that the effect was detrimental-reducing the potential for future positive CIE outcomes (e.g., Blanck et al., 2003;Cimera, 2011a;Cimera et al., 2012). This key finding aligns with previous research showing that, in many cases, segregated individuals with IDD spend little of the day in purposeful and age-inappropriate activities (Reid et al., 2001). ...
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: Although competitive integrated employment (CIE) has been established as a goal of employment policy and practice for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), many still receive segregated vocational services for subminimum wage. This persistence of segregated vocational services has occurred despite substantial previous research recommendations and policy directives to encourage CIE. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this systematic review was to examine whether recent research might provide further evidence of the role of segregated vocational services in contributing to or detracting from positive outcomes. METHOD: Our review searched peer-reviewed literature from seven electronic databases and screened 589 peer-reviewed articles based on inclusion criteria established following PRISMA guidelines— resulting in a final sample of five studies. In the second phase of our analysis, we provide a comparison of segregated and integrated vocational services in terms of individual outcomes. RESULTS: Our findings provide further evidence against the use of segregated vocational services for individuals with IDD. CONCLUSION: Implications of these findings for future research, policy, and practice are provided.
... One study looking at the use of a drumming intervention in adolescents, resulted in a reduction in hyperactivity and inattention as well as improved connectivity in regions responsible for inhibitory control and self-regulation (sixth author) (133). In older adolescents and adults, social and vocational skills training have been shown to reduce self-reported measures of anxiety and low mood (134), and have resulted in improved employability (135). Several organisations including Employment Autism, Mental Health at Work, Gheel and Specialisterne aim to support such training and to facilitate autism-friendly workplace adaptations. ...
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental condition typically diagnosed at 2-4 years of age when deficits in social interaction and communication are noted by carers. Our knowledge of ASD is advancing with greater awareness of the needs of autistic children and adults and a move towards improving services for these patients. The underlying neurobiology of ASD is a unifying aetiological agent, likely altered through both genetic and environmental influences. There is compelling evidence to suggest that abnormalities in Excitatory (E) glutamate and inhibitory (I) Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) signalling in the brain may underpin ‘atypical’ development. Therefore I chose to examine relationships within the glutamatergic system in the striatum. First I looked at metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) in adults with and without ASD and found higher levels of mGluR5 among autistic participants. This is consistent with other recent studies. Despite the close functional ties between mGluR5 and E/I signalling, no-one had directly examined the relationship between mGluR5 and glutamate or GABA in vivo in the human brain of autistic individuals. I found a strong negative relationship between GABA+ and mGluR5. I then looked at mGluR5 in three animal models associated with ASD to see whether any of these models might explain the greater availability of mGluR5 in autism. CNTNAP2 KO mice had significantly higher mGlu5 receptor binding in the striatum (caudate-putamen) as compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Given that CNTNAP2 is associated with a specific striatal deficit of parvalbumin positive GABA interneurons and ‘autistic’ features, this finding suggests that an increase in mGluR5 in ASD may relate to developmental GABAergic interneuron abnormalities. Neurodevelopment requires careful coordination of neuronal and glial processes spanning proliferation, differentiation, myelination and pruning. Disruption to this process can result in neurodevelopmental difficulties and disorders such as ASD. Therefore I conducted early life studies examining the relationship between subcortical Glx (Glutamate and Glutamine), N-acetylaspartate (a marker of neuronal health) and myo-Inositol (a marker of glial activity) at three early life time points: in utero, within 4 weeks of birth (neonatal time point) and at 4-6-months of age (‘infant’ time point). I compared these to later neurodevelopmental outcomes finding that higher neonatal NAA concentrations corresponded to better general neurodevelopmental scores and lower ADOS-2 scores. As NAA is a marker of neuronal health this implies that we can mark neuronal health at birth and demonstrate that this correlates with neurodevelopmental outcomes. I then went on to examine these same relationships at the 4-6-month timepoint. Higher levels of myo-Inositol (and therefore greater glial activity) corresponded to poorer general and social developmental outcomes. Higher levels of Glx and therefore excess excitation predicted greater social deficits. This is in keeping with the theory of E/I imbalance.
... In so doing, we organize the existing literature into HR functions related to gaining and sustaining employment. Specifically, we review: (a) the transition period between secondary education and employment (e.g., skill development [Bross, Travers, Huffman, Davis, & Mason, 2020], career planning [Nagib & Wilton, 2020], and sheltered employment [Cimera, Wehman, West & Burgess, 2012]); (b) recruitment (e.g., disclosure [Johnson & Joshi, 2016;Lindsay, Osten, Rezai, & Bui, 2021], interviews [Maras, Norris, Nicholson, Heasman, Remington, & Crane, 2021], and barriers to employment [Richards, 2012;Richards, Sang, Marks, & Gill, 2019]); (c) retention and performance management (e.g., person-occupation and person-environment fit [Diener et al., 2020;Pfeiffer et al., 2018], accommodations [Waisman-Nitzan et al., 2021], support [Hayward, McVilly, & Stokes, 2019], and job characteristics [Pfeiffer et al., 2017]); and (d) health and safety, including work outcomes such as stress (e.g., Hayward, McVilly, & Stokes, 2020), quality of life (e.g., Katz, Dejak, & Gal, 2015), and wellbeing (e.g., Baldwin, Costley, & Warren, 2014;Chen, Leader, Sung, & Leahy, 2015;Patton, 2019). In addition, we review theory that has been applied to explain employment experiences of employees with ASD, such as diversity climate (Vogus & Taylor, 2018), LMX (Hurley-Hanson & Giannantonio, 2017), path-goal theory (Seitz & Smith, 2016) and transformational leadership (Parr, Hunter, & Ligon, 2013). ...
... According to previous studies, work centre activities did not support job placement (e.g. Cimera et al., 2012). In contrast, according to a study in Sweden, community-based day centres had a positive effect on employment (Baric et al., 2017). ...
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In this study, twelve young students on the autism spectrum were interviewed on preparation for working life, employment guidance, the challenges and strengths of the autism spectrum, and suitable teaching methods. Interviews were supported by a structured and illustrated questionnaire. The data were analysed using key statistics. The results showed that, from the students’ perspective, the most important issues in preparation for work are familiarisation with different jobs, guidance in searching for a suitable job, evaluation of the suitability of the working environment, integration of occupational safety into work skills, and acquiring conversational skills in the workplace. The selection of a suitable working environment is clearly emphasised before transitioning to work. Acquiring and keeping a job require investing in social situations and skills in studying. The structuring should be flexible and adaptable according to situations and personal needs. Educationally, social interaction, social skills, and communication should form a coherent whole. The main goal for everyday life ought to be communicative and based on a structure for acquiring different skills. The results can be utilised in a vocational education and training (VET) context, because they support the importance of preparatory education as part of these studies. In addition, the results can also be used in on-the-job learning plans for VET.
Relative to the size of the population, there are fewer autistic people than non-autistic people in the workforce. Employment programs that provide extra support to autistic people may help them to gain and keep jobs that are suited to their skills and expertise. In this study, we reviewed the DXC Dandelion Program. This is a supported autism employment program run in partnership with the Australian Government. The program provided jobs to autistic people who worked in information and communications technology roles, such as software testing and cyber security. In this study, we examined some of the benefits of the program for the autistic people who participated in it. We also examined the benefits of the program to the government. We found that there are many savings to government when autistic people are employed in jobs that are matched to their skills and abilities, compared to being unemployed or working in jobs that are below their level of education, training, or skills.
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Dezavantaj kavramı, herhangi birine muhtaç olmamak için gerekli olan sosyal ve ekonomik araçlara erişim için daha az fırsata sahip olmak olarak tanımlanmaktadır. Çoklu dezavantajlılık kavramı ise farklı dezavantajların çakışması durumunu ifade etmekte olup, farklı dezavantajların aralarında bir nedensellik döngüsü mevcut olabilir. Aralarında nedensellik bağı olan iki dezavantajlılık hali de geçmişten günümüze her toplumda mevcut olan ve muazzam sayıda insanın hayatını etkileyen engellilik ve yoksulluktur. Bu çerçevede çalışmada, engelliliğin yoksulluğa ve yoksulluğun engelliliğe yol açabileceği iddia edilmiş; söz konusu iki dezavantajlılık halinin birbirlerini tetiklemelerine neden olan muhtelif faktörler incelenmiştir. İnceleme sonucunda bu faktörlerin birbirini tetiklemekle birlikte; etkilerinin engelli bireye, çevresine ve şartlarına göre değişiklik gösterdiği, dolayısıyla hiçbirinin diğerinin önüne geçmediği tespit edilmiş ve etkin mücadele politikalarına olan ihtiyaç ortaya koyulmuştur. Çalışmada, Türkiye’de engelli yoksulluğuna yönelik mücadele yöntemleri olarak ise engelli istihdamı, sosyal yardımlar ve indirimler incelenerek, mücadele yöntemlerinin etkinliği zihniyet, mevzuat, kurumlar ve uygulamalar bağlamında değerlendirilmiştir. Neticede istihdam uygulamalarının eşitliği sağlama amacı gütmekle birlikte eşitsizliği besleyici sonuçları olduğu, sosyal yardım uygulamalarının ise halen tam anlamıyla hak temelli bir çerçevede sunulmadığı tespit edilmiştir. Bununla beraber tarihsel süreç içinde uygulamaların olumlu yönde bir dönüşüm geçirdikleri görülmüş olup bu yönde dönüşümlerine devam etmesi beklenmektedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Dezavantajlılık, Çoklu Dezavantajlılık, Engellilik, Yoksulluk, Engelli Yoksulluğu, Yoksullukla Mücadele
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Background Employment is intrinsic to recovery from mental health conditions, helping people live independently. Systematic reviews indicate supported employment (SE) focused on competitive employment, including individual placement and support (IPS), is effective in helping people with mental health conditions into work. Evidence is limited on cost-effectiveness. We comprehensively reviewed evidence on the economic case for SE/IPS programmes. Methods We searched PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, IBSS, Business Source Complete, and EconLit for economic and return on investment analyses of SE/IPS programmes for mental health conditions. Traditional vocational rehabilitation, sheltered work, and return to work initiatives after sickness absence of less than 1 year were excluded. Studies were independently screened by two reviewers. We assessed quality using the Consolidate Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards checklist. The protocol was preregistered with PROSPERO-CRD42020184359. Results From 40,015 references, 28 studies examined the economic case for IPS, four IPS augmented by another intervention, and 24 other forms of SE. Studies were very heterogenous, quality was variable. Of 41 studies with quality scores over 50%, 10 reported cost per quality-adjusted life year gained, (8 favourable to SE/IPS), 14 net monetary benefits (12 positive), 5 return on investment (4 positive), and 20 cost per employment outcome (14 favorable, 5 inconclusive, 1 negative). Totally, 24 of these 41 studies had monetary benefits that more than outweighed the additional costs of SE/IPS programmes. Conclusions There is a strong economic case for the implementation of SE/IPS programmes. The economic case is conservative as evidence on long-term impacts of programmes is limited.
This chapter describes the aspects of the research and practice about employment and employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It explores the role played by the co-occurrence of intellectual and psychiatric disorders on employment outcomes, and it extends, whenever possible, the analysis to different national contexts, emphasizing the role of contextual factors in getting and maintaining a job. Reference points are the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the extensive scientific research and practice on supported employment programs and interventions.KeywordsIntellectual disabilityAutismEmploymentSupported employmentVocational rehabilitationRight to work
Many alternatives to four-year college may prove optimal for students with high-functioning autism (HFA). Alternative options include but are not restricted to entering the workforce, attending a two-year program or community college, or choosing a technical (i.e., trade or vocational) school. Limited supports are available across all postsecondary options for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), irrespective of the alternative selected. School psychologists and other education professionals better support students when they teach them to select and prepare for their postsecondary options. To best support students, school psychologists should be aware of the barriers to employment faced by individuals with ASD and the factors that undermine sustained employment. In addition, school psychologists may need to incorporate a range of career inventories throughout the transition to adulthood process to support students entering the workplace and to help identify areas of study for technical school or community college attendance. This chapter reviews strategies school psychologists and other education professionals can implement to help students with HFA achieve success when entering the workforce or attending a two-year program or technical school. Research on the supports most commonly utilized in each of these environments are also addressed.KeywordsCollege alternativesAutism spectrum disorderHigh-functioning autismWorkforceCommunity collegeTechnical school
Employment is considered to have a great impact on people's quality of life. However, it is thought to be one of the major problems adolescents and young adults have to face during their transition to the adulthood. Given their impairments, individuals with ASD face several barriers to their vocational rehabilitation. Yet many of them are capable of being independent and working effectively when they are well supported. Since they deal with several challenges due to their condition, high rates of unemployment or underemployment are very common among them. This chapter provides a view of the barriers that can affect the employment outcomes of this population and strategies (e.g., supported employment programs and technology-based interventions) for overcoming those barriers. In particular, the social deficits that characterize ASD may result in difficulty in developing and maintaining high-quality social skills and competence in communication, which are important for finding employment and staying in a work position.
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This Presentation Includes two Sections: I. MR/DD Service Trends in Mentor, Inc. States and the U.S.: A. Community Residential Services; B.Public and Private Institutions; C. Trends in Public Spending. II. Demography and the Demand for Services. (46 slides).
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This study examined the vocational outcomes of two cohorts of supported employees – 4,904 supported employees who participated in sheltered workshops and 4,904 supported employees that didn't participate in sheltered workshops. Individuals in these groups were matched based up their diagnosis, the presence of secondary conditions, and their gender. It was found that supported employees from the non-sheltered workshop group were just as likely to be employed as supported employees from sheltered workshops (60.4% versus 59.6%). Further, non-sheltered workshop supported employees earned significantly more ($137.20 versus $118.55 per week), worked more hours (24.78 versus 22.44), and cost less to serve ($4,542.65 versus $7,894.63).
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Policy shifts over the past 20 years have created an agenda for sustained commitment to integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. But despite these clear intentions, unemployment of individuals with disabilities continues to be a major public policy issue. Labor force statistics for December 2010 indicate that 28 percent of working-age adults with disabilities are employed, compared with 70 percent of people without disabilities. Labor force data also indicate that workers with disabilities have experienced significantly higher levels of job loss and hardship during the recession of the late 2000s. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the disparity in labor market participation grows. In FY2003, only 26 percent of individuals with IDD supported by community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) worked in integrated jobs, including both individual jobs and group supported employment. At the same time, participation in sheltered or facility-based employment and non-work services has grown steadily, suggesting that employment services continue to be viewed as an add-on service rather than a systemic change. States vary widely in their commitment to integrated employment. In recent years, state IDD agencies have launched employment working groups, employment initiatives, and employment-first policies and agendas. Effort is being reflected in some state-level outcome data; however nationally, only an estimated 20.3 percent of individuals receiving day supports from state IDD agencies participated in integrated employment services during FY2009. This number has slowly declined after reaching a peak of 25 percent of individuals in integrated employment in FY2001.
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The literature shows that many adults with disabilities and their families prefer integrated employment. Federal and state policies promote participation of individuals with disabilities in the general labor market, yet the majority of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) attend facility-based programs. The purpose of this paper is to determine what factors influence adults with intellectual disabilities and their families in choosing between sheltered workshops and integrated employment. To this end, adults with ID (210), families (185), and staff members in sheltered workshops (224) were surveyed. Findings showed that, when deciding about day services, some adults with ID and their families had concerns about safety, transportation, long-term placement, work hours, disability benefits, social environment, and work skills issues. Long-term placement, safety, and social environment emerged as the most important concerns. Additionally, professionals in disability services appeared to play a relatively minimal role in encouraging adults with ID and their families to pursue integrated employment and in some cases, professionals have even encouraged adults with ID and their families to choose sheltered workshops. Recommendations are provided for advancing the transition of adults with ID from sheltered workshops to integrated employment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
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The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from a national survey of a random sample of community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) that hold Special Wage Certificates established under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 214(c). The intent of the survey was to identify the types of services provided, the trends in the employment services, and the factors that were perceived as inhibiting and facilitating integrated employment outcomes. The survey results are categorized for this report in the following three areas: 1) characteristics of community rehabilitation programs, 2) organizational change trends, and 3) factors that influence the type of employment program utilized by consumers with disabilities. Representative results from the survey are that overall, facility-based programs continue to be the predominant service provided by community rehabilitation programs holding 14(c) certificates. Of the 20,075 staff members identified as serving consumers, only 1,741 (8.7%) are reported as working with individuals earning at least minimum wage. Although competitive employment and individual supported employment services among these CRPs are growing at a faster rate than other services, use of facility-based services continues to expand. Overall, the findings indicate that the organizations that provide daily services to those Americans with disabilities utilizing 14(c) certificates are continuing to predominately support facility-based work and non-work activities versus services leading to integrated employment outcomes.
The number of persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is on the rise. With more individuals being diagnosed, it is imperative that these persons get the skills and services necessary to obtain and retain employment. Given the fact that individuals with ASD benefit from services through the vocational rehabilitation system, it is essential that schools and vocational rehabilitation work together to ensure that students with ASD access the services they need to be successful employees. School systems and their vocational rehabilitation partners need to make a commitment to cooperatively work together to provide a comprehensive transition plan for students with ASD. Once these steps for becoming successful partners are in place there are a variety of strategies that, if implemented, will likely improve the outcomes for students with ASD.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine the labor force participation and wages of individuals with disabilities who have transitioned from facility-based (i.e., sheltered) work to employment in integrated and competitive settings. The investigators had access to data from seven states on the labor force participation and wages of more than 3000 individuals with disabilities who have moved from institutional to community placements over the past two decades. Among the findings: the majority of individuals in these geographically diverse samples were unemployed over time; sheltered employment prepared some individuals for entry into employment in integrated settings and resulted in substantial gains in earned income and reported higher levels of daily living skills. However, the daily life functioning of many individuals who remained in sheltered employment was comparable to that of those who transitioned to integrated employment. Avenues for future research, and legal and policy analysis are discussed.
The sheltered workshop, as a community-based, private, nonprofit vocational rehabilitation facility providing employment-related services in a controlled, supportive environment, has been the traditional resource for serving persons with severe disabilities for many years. In this role it has been subjected to increased scrutiny and controversy over the past two decades, especially in the area of moving the persons served into the integrated, competitive employment arena. Students with severe disabilities exiting the school system at the rate of 90,000 per year are finding that the community-based system outside the schools offers few employment options. This article reviews the recent research findings, analyzes the major issues, and suggests strategies for reform. Reform is seen as a more desirable option than replacement of sheltered workshops as community-based providers of employment-related services for persons with severe disabilities.
This article reports findings from a national survey of day support providers regarding conversion of resources from segregated services to supported employment. Approximately 23% of all agencies and 37% of agencies with both facility-based programs and supported employment indicated that they had converted resources to community-based employment. After an average of five years of conversion, over half of agencies' consumers and budgets continued to be in facility-based programs. Boards of Directors, funding agencies, and consumers were perceived to be very supportive of conversion, with over half of respondents stating that these constituencies were "very supportive." The primary barrier to conversion was resistance from families, staff, and communities. Findings are discussed in light of ongoing systems change initiatives.