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Employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success

by Dawn Hendricks

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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 mployment, 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 evidence 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.

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