Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do Jobs programs for autistic adults work?

Recently, autism specialist Julie Lounds Taylor studied the question of whether or not programs to help adults with autism find and keep jobs are indeed effective.

The full study  is available online for anyone who cares to read it.

Essentially what she and her coauthors did was to comb the literature looking for published studies demonstrating outcomes of autistic adults who were in various job placement and/or training programs.  It would appear that a number of these were on the more severe end and not as high functioning as someone like myself and others who might have trouble in the workplace, as they were in supported employment programs.

They found five studies that showed promising results for those on the spectrum enrolled in these programs.  One problem was that all but one were in countries outside the U.S.A.  So their relevance for those of us in America may be questionable.

The studies were deemed to be of poor quality for a variety of reasons:  No long term follow-up.  Lack of random assignment of autistics who took part in the program versus the controls, and in one study involving supported employment no control group.

There was no proof that these programs were not effective, only that the empirical evidence in the studies evaluating them was weak.

As I've written in previous posts, I am skeptical that there are any quick fix solutions to helping those on the spectrum find and keep jobs.  I'm at the milder end and after many years of struggle, I finally had to capitulate and retire at the relatively young age of 51.

I've previously written  about my bad experiences with voc rehab. I've also written about ASTEP, run by neurodiversity rogue Michael John Carley who has stated in his book, Aspergers from the inside out, that no autistics want to be cured and did not even bother to consult me.

Last but not least,  I've written about autism speaks' hypocrisy in claiming to have an interest in helping us, yet never having employed a person on the spectrum in their organization.

I applaud Dr. Lounds Taylor for taking an interest in this topic and publishing this study.  It seems no one else really cares about helping us.

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