Academic research

<p>We have selected some of the strongest academic research regarding interventions to support neurodivergent employees and provided summaries below.&nbsp;&nbsp;All studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and are presented under one heading: Individual Interventions. At the time of this review there were no interventions at the manager or organisational level and no comparative reviews.</p>
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Author: Doyle & McDowall

Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults? (2018)

Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults? (2018)

This study aimed to examine the impact of coaching as a reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. 95 adults with dyslexia and 41 line managers participated. Eleven coaches provided an average of 9.86 hours of coaching per employee over an average of 4.6 sessions during 2-6 months. Topics were chosen by the manager, coach and coachee during an introductory meeting. Focusing on this topic, the coaches and managers used a 10-point scale to provide before and after performance ratings.

 

Working memory and organisational skills were the most popular topics. The performance ratings showed an improvement overall between before and after ratings. Interestingly, the coachees’ average ‘before’ rating was significantly lower than the managers’ but the ‘after’ rating showed no difference suggesting that the intervention was not only impacting on skills but also on self-confidence of the coachees. The findings suggest that coaching is an effective reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. Additionally, the choice of coaching topics showed there were more difficulties with working memory, organisational skills and time management than literacy difficulties. 

Author: Brooke, Brooke, Schall, Wehman, McDonough, Thompson & Smith

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder Achieving Long-Term Employment Success: A Retrospective Review of Employment Retention and Intervention (2018)

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder Achieving Long-Term Employment Success: A Retrospective Review of Employment Retention and Intervention (2018)

This study was a retrospective review of 104 adults with a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who were referred to an employment support organisation between October 2009 and December 2017. The support varied and was provided across all phases of supported employment; examples were support with giving and receiving feedback, organising work days, conflict resolution, retraining if that was deemed necessary and assessing both employer and employee satisfaction with the job.  The aim of the study was to assess the long-term impact of the employment service support.

 

Results showed that 126 jobs across six different industries were attained; the top three industries were health care, hospitality and food service and retail. 63% of these jobs were customised. Overall employment retention ranged from 100% at 3 months to 87.1% at 18 months. Across the 18 months of employment, individuals moved from moderate (4-7 hours of support per month) and intensive (more than 7 hours per month) support to minimal (two contacts per month) levels of support. The results suggest support is beneficial however it is important to note that some individuals will require more intensive support. 

Author: Walsh, Holloway and Lydon

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study (2017)

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study (2017)

This study assessed the impact of the Walker social skills curriculum. 6 participants had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring mild intellectual disability and one with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring moderate intellectual disability. The Walker social skills curriculum: the ACCESS program targets 31 social skills across three primary domains: peer-related social skills e.g. listening, expressing anger and joining in with others; adult related social skills e.g. developing good work habits, getting an adults attention, following classroom rules and self-related social skills e.g. taking pride in your appearance, being organized and using self-control. In addition, video modelling was used to support participants’ learning. Participants attended two sessions per week over 20 weeks. 

 

Results showed an increase in social communication skills and this was maintained up to 3 months after the intervention. Results also showed decreases in problem behaviours. Limited findings are available regarding the impact of these skills on employment success. Overall the results suggest that this intervention was useful for enhancing social communication skills which are critical for workplace inclusion.

Author: Baker-Ericzén, Fitch, Kinnear, Jenkins, Twamley, Smith, Montano, Feder, Crooke, Winner & Leon

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills program for adults on the autism spectrum: Results of initial study (2017)

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills program for adults on the autism spectrum: Results of initial study (2017)

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the SUCCESS program –Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills intervention. An intervention developed through an established research-community partnership group, SUCCESS is a “soft skills” curriculum which aims to increase cognitive and social development in adults with autism spectrum.  8 young graduates with autism spectrum without intellectual disability attended 25 sessions over 6 months. 

 

The results showed increased social cognitive and social communication skills reported by both participants and parents. Employment rates increased from 22% to 56%. Findings showed that adults with autism spectrum can improve cognitive (i.e. executive functioning) and social cognitive (i.e. social thinking and social communication) abilities. The results suggest that the SUCCESS programme can be implemented as part of an employment vocational training programme. However, it is unclear whether this programme could be extended to other neurodivergent groups other than those with autistic spectrum diagnoses.

Author: Lindstedt and Umb-Carlsson

Cognitive assistive technology and professional support in everyday life for adults with ADHD (2013)

Cognitive assistive technology and professional support in everyday life for adults with ADHD (2013)

This study investigated the impact of cognitive assistive technology (CAT) – products to help individuals with cognitive limitations e.g. paper and pencil schedules (low technology), mobile phones with adapted programs (high technology) - and support in everyday life including the workplace. The intervention was implemented by occupational therapists in three everyday settings: private homes, workplaces and relevant authorities. 17 adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) participated and tested 74 CAT products. CAT products were tested, selected and some were customised, consequently 45 products were retained and 29 returned.  

 

The three most highly rated products were weekly schedules, watches/alarm clocks and weighted blankets.  Differences were measured at the beginning of the study and 15 months later. A significantly higher number of participants were employed/studying and performing paid work 15 months after the study started. Life satisfaction was mainly stable over the 15 months.

Author: Hillier, Campbell, Mastriani, Izzo, Kool-Tucker, Cherry & Beversdorf

Two-year evaluation of a vocational support program for adults on the autism spectrum (2007)

Two-year evaluation of a vocational support program for adults on the autism spectrum (2007)

This study evaluated a 2-year vocational support program for 9 adults with autism spectrum disorder. The amount of support provided to participants varied but included preplacement services (e.g. help with job searches, applications, mock interviews) and postplacement services (e.g. job site evaluation, coaching support, providing information to the employer and coworkers).

 

Employment levels increased by 78%. The average time it took to place participants in a job was 4.5 months and the average hours worked per week was 17.11. After the 2-year evaluation participants on average had retained their job for 12.5 months. Overall ratings showed participants were rated highly by their supervisors on a number of important skills. However, although social integration ratings increased, some social skills ratings remained low e.g. making friends in the workplace. The findings suggest this type of intervention may be helpful in supporting individuals with autism spectrum be successful in attaining a job. 

Author: Mawhood & Howlin

The outcome of a supported employment scheme for high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome (1999)

The outcome of a supported employment scheme for high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome (1999)

This study examined a 2-year supported employment project for high-functioning adults with autism. 30 adults with autism participated and were compared with a control group of 20 adults of similar intellectual and linguistic ability.  Once an individual started work, they received guidance from a support worker on a full-time basis for the first 2-4 weeks of employment. This decreased to weekly or twice weekly during the second month and continued to decrease until the support worker was only present at planned meetings with the employee and line manager. However, they could always be contacted in an emergency. Support included preparing the individual for work so that they could cope with the social and occupational requirements of the job and educating potential and existing employers and colleagues.

 

During the project significantly more of the supported group compared with the control group found work. Job levels were higher, they received significantly higher wages and they were in work for a greater percentage of the time. 

Author: Hedley, Cai, Uljarevic, Wilmot, Spoor, Richdale & Dissanayake

Transition to work: Perspectives from the autism spectrum (2017)

Transition to work: Perspectives from the autism spectrum (2017)

This paper aimed to identify factors that improve transition to work. Focus groups were conducted with adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who had been part of an employment and training programme in one organisation for 7 months, family members, support staff and coworkers. 

 

Three main themes which consisted of 10 subthemes were identified: enablers, challenges and outcomes. The sub themes for the enablers of transition to work were behavior changes and strategies used by staff (e.g. adjusting work allocations, inviting trainees to social events, being mindful of sarcasm), work and other support (e.g. having a consultant in the organisation who had a lot of experience working with individuals with ASD) and environmental accommodations (e.g. changing the lighting, individuals with ASD being able to use headphones to manage auditory stimulation). The sub themes for challenges were identified as task-related challenges (e.g. difficulties with computer network problems) and individual factors (e.g. time management, coping with change and attention). Programme outcomes were positive and the sub themes were workplace-related outcomes such as attention to detail in noticing errors, awareness - colleagues commented they had been able to increase their awareness and understanding of autism, the sense of purpose provided for individuals with autism, the benefits of financial and personal independence for the individuals with ASD and the improvements seen in social relationships, both trainees and family members described these improvements in social relationships. 

 

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Author: Doyle & McDowall

Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults? (2018)

Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults? (2018)

This study aimed to examine the impact of coaching as a reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. 95 adults with dyslexia and 41 line managers participated. Eleven coaches provided an average of 9.86 hours of coaching per employee over an average of 4.6 sessions during 2-6 months. Topics were chosen by the manager, coach and coachee during an introductory meeting. Focusing on this topic, the coaches and managers used a 10-point scale to provide before and after performance ratings.

 

Working memory and organisational skills were the most popular topics. The performance ratings showed an improvement overall between before and after ratings. Interestingly, the coachees’ average ‘before’ rating was significantly lower than the managers’ but the ‘after’ rating showed no difference suggesting that the intervention was not only impacting on skills but also on self-confidence of the coachees. The findings suggest that coaching is an effective reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. Additionally, the choice of coaching topics showed there were more difficulties with working memory, organisational skills and time management than literacy difficulties. 

Author: Doyle & McDowall

Is coaching an effective adjustment for dyslexic adults? (2018)

This study aimed to examine the impact of coaching as a reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. 95 adults with dyslexia and 41 line managers participated. Eleven coaches provided an average of 9.86 hours of coaching per employee over an average of 4.6 sessions during 2-6 months. Topics were chosen by the manager, coach and coachee during an introductory meeting. Focusing on this topic, the coaches and managers used a 10-point scale to provide before and after performance ratings.

 

Working memory and organisational skills were the most popular topics. The performance ratings showed an improvement overall between before and after ratings. Interestingly, the coachees’ average ‘before’ rating was significantly lower than the managers’ but the ‘after’ rating showed no difference suggesting that the intervention was not only impacting on skills but also on self-confidence of the coachees. The findings suggest that coaching is an effective reasonable adjustment for adults with dyslexia. Additionally, the choice of coaching topics showed there were more difficulties with working memory, organisational skills and time management than literacy difficulties. 

x
Author: Brooke, Brooke, Schall, Wehman, McDonough, Thompson & Smith

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder Achieving Long-Term Employment Success: A Retrospective Review of Employment Retention and Intervention (2018)

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder Achieving Long-Term Employment Success: A Retrospective Review of Employment Retention and Intervention (2018)

This study was a retrospective review of 104 adults with a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who were referred to an employment support organisation between October 2009 and December 2017. The support varied and was provided across all phases of supported employment; examples were support with giving and receiving feedback, organising work days, conflict resolution, retraining if that was deemed necessary and assessing both employer and employee satisfaction with the job.  The aim of the study was to assess the long-term impact of the employment service support.

 

Results showed that 126 jobs across six different industries were attained; the top three industries were health care, hospitality and food service and retail. 63% of these jobs were customised. Overall employment retention ranged from 100% at 3 months to 87.1% at 18 months. Across the 18 months of employment, individuals moved from moderate (4-7 hours of support per month) and intensive (more than 7 hours per month) support to minimal (two contacts per month) levels of support. The results suggest support is beneficial however it is important to note that some individuals will require more intensive support. 

Author: Brooke, Brooke, Schall, Wehman, McDonough, Thompson & Smith

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder Achieving Long-Term Employment Success: A Retrospective Review of Employment Retention and Intervention (2018)

This study was a retrospective review of 104 adults with a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who were referred to an employment support organisation between October 2009 and December 2017. The support varied and was provided across all phases of supported employment; examples were support with giving and receiving feedback, organising work days, conflict resolution, retraining if that was deemed necessary and assessing both employer and employee satisfaction with the job.  The aim of the study was to assess the long-term impact of the employment service support.

 

Results showed that 126 jobs across six different industries were attained; the top three industries were health care, hospitality and food service and retail. 63% of these jobs were customised. Overall employment retention ranged from 100% at 3 months to 87.1% at 18 months. Across the 18 months of employment, individuals moved from moderate (4-7 hours of support per month) and intensive (more than 7 hours per month) support to minimal (two contacts per month) levels of support. The results suggest support is beneficial however it is important to note that some individuals will require more intensive support. 

x
Author: Walsh, Holloway and Lydon

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study (2017)

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study (2017)

This study assessed the impact of the Walker social skills curriculum. 6 participants had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring mild intellectual disability and one with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring moderate intellectual disability. The Walker social skills curriculum: the ACCESS program targets 31 social skills across three primary domains: peer-related social skills e.g. listening, expressing anger and joining in with others; adult related social skills e.g. developing good work habits, getting an adults attention, following classroom rules and self-related social skills e.g. taking pride in your appearance, being organized and using self-control. In addition, video modelling was used to support participants’ learning. Participants attended two sessions per week over 20 weeks. 

 

Results showed an increase in social communication skills and this was maintained up to 3 months after the intervention. Results also showed decreases in problem behaviours. Limited findings are available regarding the impact of these skills on employment success. Overall the results suggest that this intervention was useful for enhancing social communication skills which are critical for workplace inclusion.

Author: Walsh, Holloway and Lydon

An Evaluation of a Social Skills Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disabilities preparing for Employment in Ireland: A Pilot Study (2017)

This study assessed the impact of the Walker social skills curriculum. 6 participants had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring mild intellectual disability and one with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a co-occurring moderate intellectual disability. The Walker social skills curriculum: the ACCESS program targets 31 social skills across three primary domains: peer-related social skills e.g. listening, expressing anger and joining in with others; adult related social skills e.g. developing good work habits, getting an adults attention, following classroom rules and self-related social skills e.g. taking pride in your appearance, being organized and using self-control. In addition, video modelling was used to support participants’ learning. Participants attended two sessions per week over 20 weeks. 

 

Results showed an increase in social communication skills and this was maintained up to 3 months after the intervention. Results also showed decreases in problem behaviours. Limited findings are available regarding the impact of these skills on employment success. Overall the results suggest that this intervention was useful for enhancing social communication skills which are critical for workplace inclusion.

x
Author: Baker-Ericzén, Fitch, Kinnear, Jenkins, Twamley, Smith, Montano, Feder, Crooke, Winner & Leon

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills program for adults on the autism spectrum: Results of initial study (2017)

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills program for adults on the autism spectrum: Results of initial study (2017)

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the SUCCESS program –Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills intervention. An intervention developed through an established research-community partnership group, SUCCESS is a “soft skills” curriculum which aims to increase cognitive and social development in adults with autism spectrum.  8 young graduates with autism spectrum without intellectual disability attended 25 sessions over 6 months. 

 

The results showed increased social cognitive and social communication skills reported by both participants and parents. Employment rates increased from 22% to 56%. Findings showed that adults with autism spectrum can improve cognitive (i.e. executive functioning) and social cognitive (i.e. social thinking and social communication) abilities. The results suggest that the SUCCESS programme can be implemented as part of an employment vocational training programme. However, it is unclear whether this programme could be extended to other neurodivergent groups other than those with autistic spectrum diagnoses.

Author: Baker-Ericzén, Fitch, Kinnear, Jenkins, Twamley, Smith, Montano, Feder, Crooke, Winner & Leon

Development of the Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills program for adults on the autism spectrum: Results of initial study (2017)

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the SUCCESS program –Supported Employment, Comprehensive Cognitive Enhancement, and Social Skills intervention. An intervention developed through an established research-community partnership group, SUCCESS is a “soft skills” curriculum which aims to increase cognitive and social development in adults with autism spectrum.  8 young graduates with autism spectrum without intellectual disability attended 25 sessions over 6 months. 

 

The results showed increased social cognitive and social communication skills reported by both participants and parents. Employment rates increased from 22% to 56%. Findings showed that adults with autism spectrum can improve cognitive (i.e. executive functioning) and social cognitive (i.e. social thinking and social communication) abilities. The results suggest that the SUCCESS programme can be implemented as part of an employment vocational training programme. However, it is unclear whether this programme could be extended to other neurodivergent groups other than those with autistic spectrum diagnoses.

x
Author: Lindstedt and Umb-Carlsson

Cognitive assistive technology and professional support in everyday life for adults with ADHD (2013)

Cognitive assistive technology and professional support in everyday life for adults with ADHD (2013)

This study investigated the impact of cognitive assistive technology (CAT) – products to help individuals with cognitive limitations e.g. paper and pencil schedules (low technology), mobile phones with adapted programs (high technology) - and support in everyday life including the workplace. The intervention was implemented by occupational therapists in three everyday settings: private homes, workplaces and relevant authorities. 17 adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) participated and tested 74 CAT products. CAT products were tested, selected and some were customised, consequently 45 products were retained and 29 returned.  

 

The three most highly rated products were weekly schedules, watches/alarm clocks and weighted blankets.  Differences were measured at the beginning of the study and 15 months later. A significantly higher number of participants were employed/studying and performing paid work 15 months after the study started. Life satisfaction was mainly stable over the 15 months.

Author: Lindstedt and Umb-Carlsson

Cognitive assistive technology and professional support in everyday life for adults with ADHD (2013)

This study investigated the impact of cognitive assistive technology (CAT) – products to help individuals with cognitive limitations e.g. paper and pencil schedules (low technology), mobile phones with adapted programs (high technology) - and support in everyday life including the workplace. The intervention was implemented by occupational therapists in three everyday settings: private homes, workplaces and relevant authorities. 17 adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) participated and tested 74 CAT products. CAT products were tested, selected and some were customised, consequently 45 products were retained and 29 returned.  

 

The three most highly rated products were weekly schedules, watches/alarm clocks and weighted blankets.  Differences were measured at the beginning of the study and 15 months later. A significantly higher number of participants were employed/studying and performing paid work 15 months after the study started. Life satisfaction was mainly stable over the 15 months.

x
Author: Hillier, Campbell, Mastriani, Izzo, Kool-Tucker, Cherry & Beversdorf

Two-year evaluation of a vocational support program for adults on the autism spectrum (2007)

Two-year evaluation of a vocational support program for adults on the autism spectrum (2007)

This study evaluated a 2-year vocational support program for 9 adults with autism spectrum disorder. The amount of support provided to participants varied but included preplacement services (e.g. help with job searches, applications, mock interviews) and postplacement services (e.g. job site evaluation, coaching support, providing information to the employer and coworkers).

 

Employment levels increased by 78%. The average time it took to place participants in a job was 4.5 months and the average hours worked per week was 17.11. After the 2-year evaluation participants on average had retained their job for 12.5 months. Overall ratings showed participants were rated highly by their supervisors on a number of important skills. However, although social integration ratings increased, some social skills ratings remained low e.g. making friends in the workplace. The findings suggest this type of intervention may be helpful in supporting individuals with autism spectrum be successful in attaining a job. 

Author: Hillier, Campbell, Mastriani, Izzo, Kool-Tucker, Cherry & Beversdorf

Two-year evaluation of a vocational support program for adults on the autism spectrum (2007)

This study evaluated a 2-year vocational support program for 9 adults with autism spectrum disorder. The amount of support provided to participants varied but included preplacement services (e.g. help with job searches, applications, mock interviews) and postplacement services (e.g. job site evaluation, coaching support, providing information to the employer and coworkers).

 

Employment levels increased by 78%. The average time it took to place participants in a job was 4.5 months and the average hours worked per week was 17.11. After the 2-year evaluation participants on average had retained their job for 12.5 months. Overall ratings showed participants were rated highly by their supervisors on a number of important skills. However, although social integration ratings increased, some social skills ratings remained low e.g. making friends in the workplace. The findings suggest this type of intervention may be helpful in supporting individuals with autism spectrum be successful in attaining a job. 

x
Author: Mawhood & Howlin

The outcome of a supported employment scheme for high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome (1999)

The outcome of a supported employment scheme for high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome (1999)

This study examined a 2-year supported employment project for high-functioning adults with autism. 30 adults with autism participated and were compared with a control group of 20 adults of similar intellectual and linguistic ability.  Once an individual started work, they received guidance from a support worker on a full-time basis for the first 2-4 weeks of employment. This decreased to weekly or twice weekly during the second month and continued to decrease until the support worker was only present at planned meetings with the employee and line manager. However, they could always be contacted in an emergency. Support included preparing the individual for work so that they could cope with the social and occupational requirements of the job and educating potential and existing employers and colleagues.

 

During the project significantly more of the supported group compared with the control group found work. Job levels were higher, they received significantly higher wages and they were in work for a greater percentage of the time. 

Author: Mawhood & Howlin

The outcome of a supported employment scheme for high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome (1999)

This study examined a 2-year supported employment project for high-functioning adults with autism. 30 adults with autism participated and were compared with a control group of 20 adults of similar intellectual and linguistic ability.  Once an individual started work, they received guidance from a support worker on a full-time basis for the first 2-4 weeks of employment. This decreased to weekly or twice weekly during the second month and continued to decrease until the support worker was only present at planned meetings with the employee and line manager. However, they could always be contacted in an emergency. Support included preparing the individual for work so that they could cope with the social and occupational requirements of the job and educating potential and existing employers and colleagues.

 

During the project significantly more of the supported group compared with the control group found work. Job levels were higher, they received significantly higher wages and they were in work for a greater percentage of the time. 

x
Author: Hedley, Cai, Uljarevic, Wilmot, Spoor, Richdale & Dissanayake

Transition to work: Perspectives from the autism spectrum (2017)

Transition to work: Perspectives from the autism spectrum (2017)

This paper aimed to identify factors that improve transition to work. Focus groups were conducted with adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who had been part of an employment and training programme in one organisation for 7 months, family members, support staff and coworkers. 

 

Three main themes which consisted of 10 subthemes were identified: enablers, challenges and outcomes. The sub themes for the enablers of transition to work were behavior changes and strategies used by staff (e.g. adjusting work allocations, inviting trainees to social events, being mindful of sarcasm), work and other support (e.g. having a consultant in the organisation who had a lot of experience working with individuals with ASD) and environmental accommodations (e.g. changing the lighting, individuals with ASD being able to use headphones to manage auditory stimulation). The sub themes for challenges were identified as task-related challenges (e.g. difficulties with computer network problems) and individual factors (e.g. time management, coping with change and attention). Programme outcomes were positive and the sub themes were workplace-related outcomes such as attention to detail in noticing errors, awareness - colleagues commented they had been able to increase their awareness and understanding of autism, the sense of purpose provided for individuals with autism, the benefits of financial and personal independence for the individuals with ASD and the improvements seen in social relationships, both trainees and family members described these improvements in social relationships. 

 

Author: Hedley, Cai, Uljarevic, Wilmot, Spoor, Richdale & Dissanayake

Transition to work: Perspectives from the autism spectrum (2017)

This paper aimed to identify factors that improve transition to work. Focus groups were conducted with adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who had been part of an employment and training programme in one organisation for 7 months, family members, support staff and coworkers. 

 

Three main themes which consisted of 10 subthemes were identified: enablers, challenges and outcomes. The sub themes for the enablers of transition to work were behavior changes and strategies used by staff (e.g. adjusting work allocations, inviting trainees to social events, being mindful of sarcasm), work and other support (e.g. having a consultant in the organisation who had a lot of experience working with individuals with ASD) and environmental accommodations (e.g. changing the lighting, individuals with ASD being able to use headphones to manage auditory stimulation). The sub themes for challenges were identified as task-related challenges (e.g. difficulties with computer network problems) and individual factors (e.g. time management, coping with change and attention). Programme outcomes were positive and the sub themes were workplace-related outcomes such as attention to detail in noticing errors, awareness - colleagues commented they had been able to increase their awareness and understanding of autism, the sense of purpose provided for individuals with autism, the benefits of financial and personal independence for the individuals with ASD and the improvements seen in social relationships, both trainees and family members described these improvements in social relationships. 

 

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