Evidence on the Effectiveness of Programs, Models, and Strategies to Support Employment Outcomes of Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Evidence on the Effectiveness of Programs, Models, and Strategies to Support Employment Outcomes of Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

A Review of the Literature
Published: Nov 10, 2022
Publisher: Mathematica
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Associated Project

Research Support Services for Employment of Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Time frame: 2021—2024

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy

Key Findings
  • Of the 140 publications we reviewed in the first report, our team flagged 62 publications as potentially relevant for the current report because they reported impacts.
  • There is a significant gap between the quantity of employment approaches used to help young adults with developmental disabilities and the efforts to build evidence on their effectiveness.
  • Although many strategies are being used, we found only 3 programs had rigorous evidence on their effectiveness in improving employment outcomes.
  • We identify a need for more evidence on the effectiveness of programs that show promise for improving employment-related outcomes in community settings for youth with developmental disabilities.

The transition from school to employment is challenging for the growing number of young adults on the autism spectrum. Many struggle to engage in competitive integrated employment or in appropriate education or employment training programs that will prepare them for integrated employment. Building on a prior literature for this project, this review explores which programs, models and strategies improve employment outcomes for young adults on the autism spectrum, drawing from a selected list of publications that met criteria for rigorous research design and effectiveness.

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