Achieving Steady Work Among Adults With Autism Through Specialized Employment Program

2019-10-02 07:21:30 | BioPortfolio


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have significantly higher levels of unemployment and underemployment compared to their typically developing peers and all other groups with neurodevelopmental disorders, even though major companies that have employed and trained young people with ASD acclaim their significant innovations in their companies. The investigators hope to examine the effects of specialized employment support programs, over current traditional vocational rehabilitation approaches, for adults with ASD on their ability to maintain steady employment and overall benefit to the organizations at which they will be employed.

The investigators predict that Stanford University's Neurodiversity at Work (NaW) Program will improve employment outcomes and positively impact the overall quality of life of individuals with ASD in this program. The investigators hope that the findings of the study will lead to the advancement of programs aimed to support individuals with ASD.


To date, there has been limited research examining effects of specialized employment support programs (such as Stanford's Neurodiversity at Work) for adults with ASD. Results from this study will have substantial positive impact on the field because they will significantly elevate the investigators' understanding of the factors involved in successful employment and QoL outcomes in individuals with ASD. Furthermore, understanding the trajectories of psychiatric symptoms, employment outcomes and QoL will facilitate the development of educational tools, training materials and intervention tools to help in improving overall outcomes of individuals with ASD.

The study has four specific aims that the investigators hope will contribute towards the advancement and proliferation of programs, such as Stanford's Neurodiversity at Work (NaW) aimed to support individuals with ASD, both in in the workplace and beyond.

The investigators' first aim is to compare job retention rates resulting from NaW starting before onboarding and NaW starting 6 months after onboarding (NaW-DS) for adults with ASD, as well as compare duration of sustained employment for NaW and NaW-DS (NaW-delayed start).

The second aim is to compare the change in QoL between NaW and NaW-DS for adults with ASD at month 15 past onboarding. The investigators predict that NaW will result in a higher QoL, as measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life assessment (WHOQOL-100), in adults with ASD, compared to NaW-DS. The investigators also have an exploratory aim of determining costs of employee turnover achieved from the NaW and NaW-DS, as well as comparing rates of job offers between specialized internship programs (IP) and specialized pre-employment training programs (PT).

Additionally, behavioral assessments will be administered to participants throughout the duration of the study as additional exploratory measures.

Results from this study will provide an evidence base for the understanding of trajectories of psychiatric symptoms, employment outcomes and QoL will facilitate the development of education tools, training materials and intervention tools to help improving overall outcomes of individuals with ASD.

Study Design


Autism Spectrum Disorder




Stanford University School of Medicine
Palo Alto
United States




Stanford University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-10-02T07:21:30-0400

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A childhood disorder predominately affecting boys and similar to autism (AUTISTIC DISORDER). It is characterized by severe, sustained, clinically significant impairment of social interaction, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. In contrast to autism, there are no clinically significant delays in language or cognitive development. (From DSM-IV)

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