Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Capstone (Entry-Level OTD)

Degree Name

Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience adversity upon exiting the school system and entering the workforce. Studies have shown individuals with ASD are less likely to obtain full-time jobs and earn competitive wages. Various transition programs, such as Peer Connections, have been developed to improve vocational outcomes for this population. OBJECTIVE: This paper reviews the evidence supporting the important elements of effective pre-employment training programs and evaluates the characteristics an individual transition program; the Peer Connections Program. METHODS: A review of the literature was conducted to determine the key elements of effective transition programs and then the Peer Connections Program was assessed to determine the level of integration of these elements, through the use of surveys of participants and staff and structured observations.

RESULTS: Four key elements for effective transition programs were identified in the literature; peer support, work experience in the community to practice skills, client-centered services, and initiation of transition services at a young age. Peer Connections demonstrated three of the four elements. CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation identified the successful inclusion of four key elements into Peer Connections transition program to assist young adults with ASD in obtaining successful employment.

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