Abstract

This article presents findings from a multisite randomized clinical trial measuring the impact of employment on independence in 18 to 22 year old youth with significant impact from autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The treatment condition was Project SEARCH plus ASD Supports (PS+ASD) where 73.4% of participants gained competitive integrated employment (CIE) within 1 year of graduation compared to control participants who acquired CIE at 17%. Within group analysis revealed that PS+ASD participants demonstrated improvement in all domains whereas control group participants demonstrated improvement in one domain only. Between groups analysis indicated that participants in PS+ASD demonstrated nominally better rates of improvement than control group participants at graduation and 1-year follow-up. Results provide evidence that employment provides therapeutic benefits to individuals with ASD.

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