04 SES 12 F, Looking To The Future: Inclusion As Conjecture And Prediction
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are profound developmental disorders with a broad range of clinical characteristics and levels of severity (Howlin & Moss, 2012). Common factors of the disorder are problems with social interaction and communication and restricted, stereotypical behaviors and interests (Dilling, 2008). The disorder is often accompanied by clinical comorbidities, like depression (Hofvander et al., 2009) or attention deficit disorders (Badescu et al., 2016).
The transition between school and work is especially hard for people with ASD. Many experience difficulties in finding or completing an apprenticeship because they lack interpersonal and contextual skills or because their aspirations don’t match those of their employers (Hendricks, 2010; Proft, Gawronski et al., 2016). Thus, the employment rate for people with ASD is significantly lower than average; estimates range between 20 and 30% (Lorenz et al., 2016). For this reason, support services have been established, which offer guidance and coaching for people with ASD on their way to employment. Current research shows that such support services are most effective when they account individual strengths and contextual resources, rather than treating ASD as an impairment (Scott et al., 2018). In Switzerland, there are mostly regionally organized services with a broad range of support offers, regarding school, career choice and job-related guidance and coaching, intra- and interpersonal skills training and administrative support (BSV, 2012).
The goal of the present study is to assess personal and structural obstacles, as well as available and potential resources for people with ASD on their way to employment, while focusing on the role of support services during the transition.Clients of a regional support service in the city of Bern will be surveyed and compared to a similar group of individuals with ASD who have not used a support service. The service’s target groups are mainly adolescents and young adults with ASD who need support in their career choices, in their apprenticeships or studies, or who are in the process of finding their first employment. Adults who dropped out of labor market and need support with reintegration into employment are considered as well. The service offers support for job selection and job search and provides trainings on time and workplace organization, writing applications or practicing job interviews, but also training of social strategies and coaching for social interactions. Furthermore, the service provides information for teachers and employers on how to adapt schools and workplaces better to the needs of people with ASD.
- What are the differences in school and job careers between individuals with ASD who were using support service and those who did not?
- How do those two groups differ concerning individual and contextual resources, quality of life and work satisfaction?
- What are opportunities and risks regarding the support service are reported by clients?
The aim of this research project is to provide information and guidance to the involved parties (ASD-patients and their environment, school authorities and employers), to promote the inclusion of autistic people in the regular job market, considering personal resources and individual characteristics. Data collection will begin in May 2019 and we aim to present initial results at ECER 2019.
The study consists of three parts: First, we conduct an online survey with approximately 120 persons with ASD to assess transition processes between school and work, and quality of life. Participants will be recruited from the support service client database, as well as from the database of the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Bern. The final sample consists of participants that currently use or have used the support service in the past two years, and individuals that never used such a support service. Survey construction has taken place with help and advice by qualified experts in ASS and the survey was pretested by an individual with ASS to ensure clarity of the formulated items. For the second part of the study, participants who attained a support coaching are to be compared with those who never attained such a coaching. Using propensity score matching, the sample will be divided into two groups with matching personal, sociodemographic and clinical characteristics at time of diagnosis, differing only in the usage of the support service. These groups are then to be compared, using t-tests and MANOVA, regarding improvements in clinically relevant characteristics. Because of high sensitivity of clinical data, data analyses will be carried exclusively at the UPD. In a third step, 10 selected participants will take part in a personal, qualitative interview to create representative case studies of different transition processes and positive and negative experiences during the support service, as well as client’s needs and barriers on their way to employment.
It is expected that participants who used the support service are more likely to have a stable employment, that they are more aware of their individual and contextual resources, and that they report higher quality of life. Additionally, we hypothesize that support trainings improve social skills like emotional recognition ability, which should lead to higher scores on the screening instruments mentioned above. Also, we expect clinical symptoms, like comorbidities and stronger autistic characteristics, to be associated with employment status and success of the support service, but that the strength of this association is moderated by factors such as individualized support and consideration of resources and interests. Comparison of different transition processes should lead to intriguing results concerning barriers and facilitators for employment and participation of people with ASD. These processes can be illustrated by the individual histories assessed with the personal interviews.
-Badescu, G. M., M. Filfan, R. E. Sandu, R. Surugiu, O. Ciobanu and A. Popa-Wagner (2016). "Molecular mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD and autism." Rom J Morphol Embryol 57(2): 361-366. -Baron-Cohen, S., S. Wheelwright, J. Hill, Y. Raste and I. Plumb (2001). "The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" Test revised version: a study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism." J Child Psychol Psychiatry 42(2): 241-251. -Baron-Cohen, S., S. Wheelwright, R. Skinner, J. Martin and E. Clubley (2001). "The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians." J Autism Dev Disord 31(1): 5-17. -BSV – Bundesamt für Sozialversicherungen (2002). Kinder und Jugendliche mit tiefgreifenden Entwicklungsstörungen in der Schweiz. -Dilling, H. (2008). Internationale Klassifikation psychischer Störungen ICD-10. -Dziobek, I., S. Fleck, E. Kalbe, K. Rogers, J. Hassenstab, M. Brand, J. Kessler, J. K. Woike, O. T. Wolf and A. Convit (2006). "Introducing MASC: a movie for the assessment of social cognition." J Autism Dev Disord 36(5): 623-636. -Hendricks D. (2010): employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 32, 125-124 -Hofvander B., Delorme R., Chaste P. et al (2009) Psychiatric and psychosocial problems in adults with normal-intelligence autism spectrum disorders. BMC Psychiatry 9, 35. -Howlin P., Moss P. (2012) Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 57: 275-83. -Jost, T. (2012). Die berufliche Situation von Personen mit Asperger-Syndrom. Psychologische Voraussetzungen und Probleme (Diplomarbeit). University of Vienna. -Lorenz, T., Frischling, C., Cuadros, R., & Heinitz, K. (2016). Autism and Overcoming Job Barriers: Comparing Job-Related Barriers and Possible Solutions in and outside of Autism-Specific Employment. PLOS ONE, 11(1), 1–19. -McConachie, H., Mason, D., Parr, J. R., Garland, D., Wilson, C., & Rodgers, J. (2018). Enhancing the Validity of a Quality of Life Measure for Autistic People. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(5), 1596–1611. -Proft J., Gawronski A., Krämer K., Schoofs T., Kockler H., Vogeley K. (2016): Autismus im Beruf. Eine qualitative Analyse berufsbezogener Erfahrungen und Wünsche von Menschen mit Autismus-Spektrum-Störungen. Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Psychologie und Psychotherapie 64, 277-85. -Scott, M., Milbourn, B., Falkmer, M., Black, M., Bӧlte, S., Halladay, A., … Girdler, S. (2018). Factors impacting employment for people with autism spectrum disorder: A scoping review. Autism, 1-33.
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