Monday 8 February 2016

"People with ASD had lower odds of employment in the community"

The title of this quite brief post refers to an important finding detailed by Derek Nord and colleagues [1] who, when analysing data from the "2008–09 National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey", concluded that there were some important inequalities when it came to employment rates for those diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Employment rates and work opportunities for people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a hot topic at the moment. The Nord findings build upon report after report published in the peer-reviewed domain and beyond basically telling everyone what was already quite widely known: "despite their capacity and willingness to work, [people with autism / autistic people] face significant disadvantages in the labour market." [2] Like many others, I am happy to see that things are [slowly] changing insofar as increasingly more resources being put into highlighting this issue and most importantly, the translation of talk into action. But such change is not happening everywhere for everyone and, as if to prove a point...

Appreciating that the autism spectrum includes a whole tapestry of skills and disabilities that might affect both the ability and desire to seek employment (and no, not everyone with autism automatically wants to work in IT or engineering), there is still quite a lot more to do in this area. Things like making the job application and interview a little more 'friendly' is a good start (see here) and also not assuming that getting someone a job is the end of the process [3] no matter how many 'feel good' boxes this might tick. Indeed, I'm particularly interested in the factors that are linked to the sustainability of employment and how making the workplace 'work' for people on the autism spectrum might be a key part of the benefits employment can bring to the person themselves, their family and society in general.

Now, about making the labour market also 'work' for parents of children with autism too (see here)...


[1] Nord DK. et al. Employment in the community for people with and without autism: A comparative analysis. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2016; 24: 11-16.

[2] Baldwin S. et al. Employment activities and experiences of adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Oct;44(10):2440-9.

[3] Holwerda A. et al. Predictors of sustainable work participation of young adults with developmental disorders. Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Sep;34(9):2753-63.

---------- Nord, D., Stancliffe, R., Nye-Lengerman, K., & Hewitt, A. (2016). Employment in the community for people with and without autism: A comparative analysis Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 24, 11-16 DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2015.12.013

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