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More Job Support is Needed for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Consequently, people with ASD face many barriers when they seek employment, such as difficulties with the job interview process, communication, and understanding workplace culture.

Despite people with ASD often having high-level or multiple qualifications, they experience lower levels of employment than the general population.

only 38% of adults with ASD employed, compared to 84% of Australians of working age without disability,” says lead author and Honours student Melissa Sharpe.

However, previous research has highlighted several positive outcomes from gaining and maintaining employment including skills development, better mental health, development of social relationships, better life satisfaction, well-being, and better quality of life.

To look at the support received by individuals with ASD in gaining and maintaining open employment from their perspective, researchers from Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences interviewed nine people with ASD about their experiences of obtaining and keeping a job in the regular job market, known as open employment.

The analysis published in the journal Disabilities identified that whilst people felt supported to find a job and found positive outcomes from being employed. A theme emerged that support eventually became minimal, leaving individuals with little job progression, or stuck in roles that under-utilized their qualifications.

However, the support they received from the consultants was more focused on obtaining a job, rather than job maintenance or career progression, leaving some individuals with poor job matches or unused qualifications and skills.

This is a poor return for both society and the individual who invested time and money in gaining these qualifications. Without being able to raise future career steps with their consultant, an individual is likely not to have the skills or knowledge to be able to progress in their employment on their own.

The study found the participants had several positives associated with being employed, including feeling successful due to having a job, having pride in their work, feeling valued by co-workers, and enjoying social inclusion, which is a key goal of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This only confirms the value in being able to support people with ASD, and others with a disability, in being able to gain meaningful employment.

A variety of models and person-centered support are needed to ensure disability employment providers are well resourced or incentivized to support longer-term career development. Without it, people with ASD may remain in low-skill, entry-level roles throughout their working lives.

Source: Medindia

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