Predicting Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Predicting Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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2015-08

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Abstract Employment is a mechanism for individuals with and without disabilities to participate in and benefit from the full social and economic benefits of community living. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a neurodevelopmental disability, are often socially and systematically prevented from full participation in the workforce. Individuals with ASD experience high rates of unemployment and low rates of workforce participation. Despite significant federal and state investment in employment services and supports for individuals with ASD and other disabilities, we understand very little about what programs and services produce successful employment outcomes. State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs provide a critical gateway between individuals with ASD and employment opportunities. Using extant data from the Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) from fiscal year 2013, this study examined how ASD impairment type influences access to VR services, which VR services lead to case closure in integrated employment, and which services yield significant changes in earnings and hours worked. Findings indicate that a number of demographic and services factors are associated with improved employment outcomes. An individual’s ability to access specific types of VR services can influence their trajectory within the VR program and subsequent outcomes. VR’s job-related services yielded improved employment outcomes for individuals with ASD compared to administrative services. Keywords: Autism, ASD, vocational rehabilitation, employment, disability

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Social Work. Advisor: Elizabeth Lightfoot. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 206 pages.

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Nye-Lengerman, Kelly. (2015). Predicting Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/175509.

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