Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

SEDL’s VR Autism project addresses the dual challenge of the increasing numbers of Americans diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and the extremely low employment rates among persons with disabilities. Through research and dissemination activities, this project aims to improve vocational rehabilitation and transitional services to people with ASD.

Success Story

"I really enjoy working at Panera Bread. It is a much better environment, and everyone is friendly, always treating me with respect." — Glenn, Employee, Panera Bread
“Glenn is a great example of a person who, when committed, can achieve almost anything."  — Mike, General Manager, Panera Bread

Wildwood Employment Services for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Meet Glenn. He has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum and is a consumer of the Wildwood Programs' Employment Services. Nearing graduation from high school, Glenn began participating in vocational trials with different businesses. He was especially successful as a dishwasher in a family-owned restaurant and was offered a part-time position. Glenn really liked the staff, as they did him. But after a few years, a change in management led to a more chaotic workplace and anxiety for Glenn. With intensive on-the-job training from Wildwood, along with support from his residential manager, aunt, and a family friend, Glenn was able to secure a job at Panera Bread. The support he received enabled him to make the transition with few difficulties. Mike, the general manager at Panera, provides Glenn with clear directions, compliments when due, and corrective instruction as warranted. The sense of achievement and pride is clear in the way Glenn does his job.

Wildwood is one of several exemplary employment programs for individuals on the autism spectrum that SEDL has identified through the VR Autism project. Read more

Significant Work

Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2008–present): In partnership with the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, SEDL is conducting research and knowledge translation to improve the quality and responsiveness of vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders project consists of a diverse set of research and dissemination activities. Learn more


Image of publication cover Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Directory
The VR Service Models and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) project is collecting information from state directors of vocational rehabilitation services about specialty counselors (or lead counselors) dealing with individuals with ASD who are interested in seeking vocational rehabilitation service supports. This directory is intended to help consumers and families initiate contacts with the VR system.
Image of publication cover Vocational Rehabilitation Systematic Review: Effectiveness of Adult Employment Assistance Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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