Removal of Social Barriers to Employment for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Principal Investigator(s):
John C. Burke, Ph.D.
Grant Type:
Applied Research
Kentucky Autism Training Center
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Year Awarded:
Year Completed:
Employment, Transition, and Adults; Social and Communication Skills


The present study endeavors to improve opportunities for individuals with autism to become socially integrated into the workplace by providing brief training to employers and co-workers of individuals with autism related to the specifics of autism as a diagnosis. The goal of the study will be to determine if data reflects an increase in the subjects’ scores on attitude and interaction scales from baseline measurement. Of further inquiry will be whether the measured level of severity is contributory to any statistically significant changes in subjects’ attitude or interaction scores using a repeated measures analysis of variance design involving two groups with random assignment. If the training is found to be effective, the intervention model will be disseminated using print and electronic media and professional development training activities. This study is believed relevant based upon a review of the literature that suggests that while natural supports are increasingly utilized in supported employment settings, many individuals with severe disabilities, such as autism, may be at a disadvantage for the development of natural supports due to issues of impaired social communication and behavior. If brief training specific to autism is related to increased scores on attitude and interaction scales, then the inclusion of such training into job placement for individuals with autism may prove an efficacious means of developing natural supports.

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