Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

SEDL’s VR Autism project addressed 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 aimed 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 (2008–2013): In partnership with the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, SEDL conducted 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 consisted of a diverse set of research and dissemination activities. Learn more

Resources

Image of publication cover Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Guide to Effective Employment Programs

From October 2008 through September 2013, SEDL’s Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders project worked to improve employment outcomes for people with autism spectrum disorders by conducting research and disseminating information about effective strategies and services. The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of Central Florida was SEDL’s partner in this project. One activity of this project was identifying effective programs. This guide discusses the results of that study and outlines effective practices of vocational rehabilitation vendors.

Image of publication cover Effectiveness of Adult Employment Assistance Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (A Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review)
This systematic review aims to determine the effectiveness of adult employment interventions in securing and maintaining employment for adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Image of publication cover Pre-Graduation Transition Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Effects on Employment Outcomes (A Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review)

This systematic review aims determine the effectiveness of pre-graduation interventions aimed at persons with autism spectrum disorders to shape behaviors, social interactions, and/or skills that result in employment in mainstream competitive employment settings.

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.

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