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ASD and Employment


Article: Predictors of Competitive Employment for Students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities. By Southward and Kyzar, in Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, v. 52, March 2017.

Recent statistics place unemployment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ASD individuals have a developmental disability) around 85%. Recent unemployment numbers for Americans are around 4.7%. Something is going on here.

Unemployment for I/DD individuals has been high for a very long time, but I think it is now getting attention because so many more people with I/DD are doing really well in the competitive employment market. This is thanks to some stand-alone programs that are doing good work as well as increased attention on employment skills as a resource for all students in all schools here in the US and abroad. We finally are starting to have some meta-data on what increases the chance that I/DD individuals will be in competitive jobs in the future, so here's the list:

  • Paid employment while in high school.

  • Vocational Skills Training

  • Family Expectations

  • High School Completion

  • An IEP that has goals related to employment

  • Self-determination

  • Participating in Post-secondary Education

Duh. Not groundbreaking, but research verifying the importance of these things, and linking them to actual employment means people can start developing programs that incorporate these items, and possibly getting funding for them. The public can also start to evaluate existing programs to see how they incorporate (or fail to incorporate) these items.


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