What Do We Know About Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • Carolyn Dudley University of Calgary
  • Jennifer D. Zwicker University of Calgary

Abstract

WHY IS THIS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE?
An estimated 1 in 86 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)1 making it the most commonly diagnosed childhood neurological condition in Canada.2 Adults living with ASD3 have the poorest employment outcomes of those with disabilities. Most earn less than the national minimum hourly wage, endure extended periods of joblessness and frequently shuffle between positions, further diminishing their prospects. These poor employment outcomes result in lower quality of life and often lead to steep economic costs.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH TELL US?
Employment success increases quality of life Employment enhances quality of life, cognitive functioning and overall well-being of persons with ASD by increasing economic self-sufficiency, financial security, independent living, community participation and self-esteem.4, 5, 6 Unfortunately, employment outcomes for those living with ASD are poor; only 25 per cent of adults with ASD are employed, most of this group is considered high-functioning and only six per cent are competitively employed.7, 8 Success in employment is attributable to a combination of individual characteristics, external supports and policy enabling employment opportunities.

Published
2016-01-26
Section
Communiqués