Examining Vocational Services for Adults with Autism
University of Calgary
This study examines vocational experiences and needs as well as opportunities for enhanced vocational services to adults with ASD in Canada. It aims to examine : those services currently support vocational opportunities for adults with ASD in Canada; the evidence of the effectiveness of existing services; what adults with ASD and their families perceive as risk and protective factors to finding and keeping meaningful employment or vocational experience; the resources that are required by employers and other community stakeholders to assist adults with ASD in vocational opportunities; and the resulting practice, research and policy implications of these findings. This multi-centre study utilizes a mixed method design. First, an environmental scan will systematically examine the reviewed and grey literature for interventional approaches. A national survey will be given to service providers across Canada to identify existing vocational resources and needs. Semi-structured interviews will be facilitated with approximately 65 adults with ASD and caregivers to identify vocational experiences, needs and recommendations. Focus groups will be conducted with service providers to ascertain their perceived experience, challenges and recommendations for service advancement. Finally, the findings from the various components of the study will be analyzed and presented to key stakeholders in the 5 Canadian data collection sites, at which Delphi consultations will be facilitated in determining policy and program development priorities and strategies. It is expected to demonstrate barriers and opportunities for optimal vocational services for adults with ASD. To this end, the study has potential impact for informing vocational service needs and opportunities for adults with ASD. An extensive knowledge translation strategy is planned. The project addresses the under-studied area of evidence-informed vocational service for adults with ASD, with promising potential in guiding service delivery.