Predictors of employment and postsecondary education of youth with autism

Authors: Moore, C. L.
Year Published 2012
Publication Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin
Volume 55
Number 3
Pages 176-184
Publisher Sage

The increasing numbers of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), exiting school an seeking Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services has sparked interest in research of predictors of employment success.


The purpose of this study was to identify predictors or employment success for students with ASD who use VR services in transition from school to adulthood. Predictors included both demographic and specific VR service categories.


This study included individuals with disabilities served by multiple vocational rehabilitation agencies in various settings.


The study sample consisted of 2,913 youth and young adults who received VR services during the transition period from school to adulthood. Ages at application for services ranged from 16 to 26, and none were employed at application.

Data Collection

Data collection for the RSA 911 data system is initiated at the time of application and ends at case closure. The system includes client demographic variables, service delivery variables, and outcome variables. Stepwise backward binary logistic regression was used to test the relationships between the predictors and the outcomes that were measured as categorical variables integrated employment and postsecondary education improvement.


There was no control or comparison condition.


The odds of achieving competitive employment were greater for youth who received job placement services. However, only 48% of youth with ASD received this service. In addition, postsecondary education was among the strongest predictors of better earnings, yet only 10% of youth received college services.


The study's findings provide evidence that job placement services and college services can improve employment outcomes for youth with autism. They recommend that VR agencies offer those services to more youth with autism.

Disabilities Autism Spectrum Disorder
Populations Transition-age youth (14 - 24) | Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition
Research Design Observational
Peer Reviewed Yes