Richardson, L., McCoy, A., & McNaughton, D. (2019). “He’s worth the extra work”: The employment experiences of adults with ASD who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as reported by adults with ASD, family members, and employers. Work, 62, 205-219.
Background: Employment is a key determinant in quality of life. However, less than 50% of adults with ASD are employed.
Objective: In order to better support community-based employment for persons with ASD who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), there is a need to better understand those situations in which successful outcomes have been achieved.
Method: This study utilized a multiple case design to investigate the experiences of seven individuals with ASD who use AAC and are successfully employed in the community.
Results: Results provide evidence that individuals with ASD who use AAC can be successfully employed, when provided with appropriate supports. Expressive and receptive communication were commonly identified as challenges, however, mobile devices provided support to communication and participation for many of the participants with ASD.
Conclusions: Results from the current study provide evidence that successful employment for individuals with ASD who use AAC is possible when intervention addresses three key areas: the development of skills that are valued in the workplace, the identification and creation of good job matches, and access to needed supports.