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Successful Employment of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication

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Successful employment outcomes for persons with complex communication needs often require not only the learning of new skills by the person who uses AAC, but also the provision of supports by the employer and other stakeholders (e.g., family members) as well. This presentation will describe the outcomes of a qualitative research project examining the experiences of seven individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who use AAC, and who are successfully employed in community settings. As part of the research, a series of semi-structured interviews were conducted with the seven individuals with ASD, their parents/family members, and their employers. Results will be discussed in terms of positive and negative features of employment, and key supports and barriers to employment, as identified by the different stakeholder groups. Characteristics of the workplace and employment activities, prior educational activities and onsite job training, and the components of the AAC systems used by the participants with ASD, will also be discussed. Video recordings of selected interviews with research participants will be shown to illustrate key themes. The experiences of these seven individuals with ASD who use AAC provide evidence that, with appropriate supports, successful community-based employment experiences can be achieved and maintained over time.

Author(s):

Laura Richardson    
The Pennsylvania Sate University
United States

David McNaughton    
The Pennsylvania State University
United States

Alaisha Sayeed    
The Pennsylvania State University
United States

Ashley McCoy    
The Pennsylvania State University
United States

 

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