Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 32, issue 2
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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation will provide a forum for discussion and dissemination of information about the major areas that constitute vocational rehabilitation.
Periodically, there will be topics that are directed either to specific themes such as long-term care or different disability groups such as those with psychiatric impairment. Often a guest editor who is an expert in the given area will provide leadership on a specific topic issue. However, all articles received directly or submitted for a special issue are welcome for peer review. The emphasis will be on publishing rehabilitation articles that have immediate application for helping rehabilitation counselors, psychologists and other professionals in providing direct services to people with disabilities.
Original research articles, review articles, program descriptions, and case studies will be considered for publication. Ideas for special topical issues are welcomed as well.
Abstract: Much has been written about the diagnostic characteristics that distinguish autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from other disorders of childhood for toddlers and elementary school age children. There is a paucity of description of the characteristics and needs of youth and young adults with ASD. This paper presents a description of the characteristics of ASD in adolescence and young adulthood and presents three case studies to illuminate the issues confronting individuals with ASD, their families and support providers.
Abstract: Effective transition from school to the adult community and employment for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) requires knowledge of an array of state and community agencies and organizations. This paper provided an overview of current research on employment outcomes for persons with ASD, with emphasis on employment outcomes achieved through participation in services provided by State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. Descriptions are given for the primary providers of employment and related supports in the adult service system for transitioning youth with ASD. Two case study examples are provided detailing the development and implementation of employment plans responsive to the unique…needs and abilities of young adults with ASD. Becoming well informed about resources at the community and state level and learning how to network effectively among these resources are emphasized as key to planning and implementing an effective transition program for a youth with ASD.
Keywords: Autism, transition to work, ASD, employment
Abstract: Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of personal digital assistants (PDAs) as task management tools in a sample of transition-age high school students with autism. Method: The group included twenty-two high school students selected from locales across the Commonwealth of Virginia, all of whom carry a diagnosis of autism and exhibit difficulties in performing everyday tasks due to cognitive-behavioral problems. Participants were trained by an occupational therapist to use PDAs as task management tools and participants and their parents completed self-assessments of occupational performance (using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM)) before training and eight…weeks after training concluded. At the post-assessment, PDAs were examined for recorded appointments and other entries, as evidence of participants’ usage, and participants were asked to demonstrate programming the PDA for reminder alarms and other functions, as a measure of their retention of training. Results: Eight weeks after completion of training, the group demonstrated statistically significant improvement on COPM occupational performance and satisfaction with occupational performance scores, all PDA calendars showed reminder alarms scheduled for each day of the week across the eight week post-training period and all participants demonstrated the ability to respond to reminder alarms appropriately. Also, eight weeks after training, most participants (18 of 22 or 82%) were able to program device software, as trained, demonstrating retention of training and suggesting everyday use of the device. All participants attested to everyday device use and said that the device had improved their independence in performing functional activities. Conclusion: A brief training intervention utilizing PDAs as cognitive aids is associated with improved self-ratings of performance and satisfaction in everyday life tasks among a group of high school students with autism. This group also demonstrated retention of training when reassessed eight weeks later, and their devices showed calendar entries across the eight weeks that suggest everyday use.
Keywords: Autism, personal digital assistant, PDA, cognitive aid, assistive technology, transition to work
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can present challenging behavior at work. In fact, it is likely that the presence of challenging behavior can act as a major barrier for individuals with ASD achieving competitive employment. Community-based work environments can present challenges in the implementation of behavior intervention plans. Positive behavior support (PBS) is a behavior intervention model that presents opportunities to implement socially valid behavior interventions in supported and competitive workplaces. This article describes the PBS model and provides a case example for an individual with ASD at work. Finally this article presents recommendations for future research in supporting…individuals with ASD at work.
Keywords: Autism, autism spectrum disorder, positive behavior support
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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…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.
Keywords: Autism, ASD, employment for adults with autism