Adults with Autism Thrive in Employment


A recent study by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt University has shown that adults with autism benefit greatly from having employment. The study included 153 adults, ages 19 to 53, with autism spectrum disorder. The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, found that people who held jobs saw significant improvement in the symptoms of autism.

According to an article in Disability Scoop, “Researchers assessed the individuals—largely by interviewing their parents—at two points during the study with more than five years in between, looking at whether they had restricted interest areas, displayed repetitive behaviors or experienced communication or social difficulties, among other autism symptoms.”

The study also revealed that people with autism who worked independently (as opposed to in sheltered workshops) exhibited even greater improvement in their symptoms.

Employment specialists who have been working with people with autism have experienced firsthand the benefits of having a great job. However, they also understand that the people they support often face additional challenges on the job, which can be exacerbated by having autism.

One method for addressing certain stresses in the workplace for people with autism involves working with dogs. A Texas organization, the Austin Dog Alliance, helps teach people with autism the skills they need to secure employment, as well as how to behave on the job. In some cases, a dog is placed at a person’s job site to help calm the individual down in times of stress. In other situations, potential employees are taught how to groom dogs in order to land work in this field.

As an employment specialist, you must meet the diverse needs of the people you support. The DirectCourse/College of Employment Services online curricula can help employment specialists understand a variety of different approaches, in terms of finding work, as well as keeping a good job once it’s been found.

For more information on the College of Employment Services, please visit:

For the Disability Scoop article about the Vanderbilt University study, please visit:

For more information on the Austin Dog Alliance, please visit:

Share Button