Affiliations: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA, USA
Address for correspondence: Agnieszka Zalewska, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125, USA. Tel.: +1 617 287 4393; Fax: +1 617 287 4352; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Job seekers’ personal traits like self-determination and social skills are often highlighted as key for achieving employment. However, a growing literature suggests that external factors should not be overlooked either, including job search strategies and transportation. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to increase knowledge about the relationships between these factors and employment of young adults with autism, within the same analytical context provided by the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). METHODS: Chi-Square and One-Way-Anova were used to investigate the relationships between the four factors and employment of young adults with autism. RESULTS: Contrary to the prevailing literature, our findings did not confirm a relationship between employment and most of these factors. Only a subscale of self-determination—psychological empowerment—and transportation independence were associated with employment outcomes of young adults with autism. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the findings, we recommend that transportation independence be a component of educational programs for students with autism in preparation for their professional careers. Moreover, we recommend improving instruments and data collection practices to accurately gauge self-determination, social skills, and job search practices before concluding that these factors are not associated with employment outcomes.