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Study implemented an employer-based intervention for high school youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to learn job skills and acquire employment. The intervention modified a program titled Project SEARCH and incorporated the use of applied behavior analysis to develop Project SEARCH plus Autism Spectrum Disorder Supports (PS-ASD). A randomized clinical trial compared the implementation of PS-ASD with high school special education services as usual. Participants were 49 students between the ages of 18 and 21 years, diagnosed with an ASD, eligible for supported employment, and able to demonstrate independent self-care. At 3 months after graduation, 90 percent of the treatment group acquired competitive, part-time employment earning $9.53 to $10.66 per hour. Furthermore, 87 percent of those individuals maintained employment at 12 months post-graduation. The control group’s employment outcomes were 6 percent acquiring employment by 3 months post-graduation and 12 percent acquiring employment by 12 months post-graduation. The positive employment outcomes generated by the treatment group provide evidence that youth with ASD can gain and maintain competitive employment. Additionally, there is evidence that they are able to advance within that time toward more weekly hours worked, while they also displayed increasing independence in the work setting.


Wehman, Paul, Schall, Carol M., McDonough, Jennifer, Graham, Carolyn, Brooke, Valerie, Riehle, J. Erin, Brooke, Alissa, Ham, Whitney, Lau, Stephanie, Allen, Jacklyn, Avellone, Lauren

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