Employment supports for young adults with autism spectrum disorder: Two case studies

Authors: Hart, T., Dijkers, M., Whyte, J., Braden, C., Trott, C. T., & Fraser, R.
Year Published 2014
Publication Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Volume 40
Number 2
Pages 117-124
Publisher IOS Press

Many young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face trouble transitioning from school to employment. Project SEARCH and ASD Supports have helped young adults with ASD transition successfully to employment. This paper presents two cases of successful transition through those programs.


The purpose of this article is to present two cases of young adults with ASD and describe the supports they received through project SEARCH.


The setting included businesses where the two young adults worked.


The sample included two young adults with ASD; one female and one male.

Data Collection

The case histories reviewed described the various types of supports the young adults used at work.


There was no control or comparison condition.


Kristin worked in a Mother Infant Unit of a hospital and despite being able to complete her job tasks had many struggles. During her second month of work she would refuse to work, return from breaks late, and throw things across the room when she became upset. Kristin‚ behavior resulted in her being at risk of termination from her position. Through a Positive Behavior Support plan that was a collaboration of her job coach, supervisor, co-workers, and family she was able to become a productive employee.

Darnell is a 23 year old with ASD and works as a pharmacy assistant in a hospital. He is a valuable asset to his unit but has his struggles. He has refused to follow instructions, thrown medications on the floor, and fist pumped. Through a Positive Behavior Support plan he was able to cut down on the undesired behavior and continues to be successful in his position.


These cases demonstrate the positive impact of supported employment for individuals with ASD.

URL http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabilitation/jvr677
Disabilities Autism Spectrum Disorder
Populations Male & Female | Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Outcomes Employment acquisition
NIDILRR Funded Yes
Research Design Case reports
Peer Reviewed Yes