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Improving Access to Community-Based Occupations via a Rideshare Training Program

Principal Investigator(s):

Stacey Reynolds, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, and Alissa Brooke, M.S., CRC, PBSF

Grant Type:

Applied Research

Funding:

37,288


Organization:

Virginia Commonwealth University

Year Awarded:

2023

Status:

In Progress


Topics:

Employment, Transition, and Adults; Behavior, Emotions, Mental Health


Abstract

There is a lack of accessible transportation options for autistic adults who do not have a driver’s license. Limited transportation options may impact their ability to access community-based leisure activities and employment opportunities. Rideshare services (e.g., Uber, Lyft) provide efficient door-to-door transportation and avoid many of the barriers that come with public transportation This project will evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative training program which teaches and supports adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities how to access their communities safely using Rideshare services. Our aims are to 1) conduct an effectiveness-implementation waitlist-controlled trial using our Safe Rideshare Program (SRP) and 2) evaluate the impact of the SRP on community engagement, social participation, and employment over a 2-month period. Our sample will include autistic adults from urban, rural, and suburban regions to examine feasibility across different geographic areas. We will measure outcomes related to effectiveness (user independence and safety), feasibility, acceptability, and use of services following training. This study would be the first step towards a fully powered trial of training effectiveness. Our long-term goal is for this training program to be implemented nationwide as a means of solving transportation barriers for the autistic population.