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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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TEACCH Supported Employment Program

Mission Statement

To provide a stable and predictable work environment whereby the person with autism can, as independently as possible, be a contributing member of the work force.

Michael Chapman
Director of Supported Employment
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Division TEACCH Supported Employment Program
CB#7180, UNC-Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7180
Phone: 919-966-8194
FAX: 919-966-4127
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Organizational Profile:

The Supported Employment Program was created in 1989 by the TEACCH organization as a response for the need to create support for the growing adult population of persons diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It began as a one-year research project that, once it was a proven possibility, became a program that meets the needs of adults with ASD and serves as a demonstration project for other agencies.

Program Design

  • A community-based evaluation takes place, which allows Supported Employment professionals to determine the individual's skills set and challenges he or she may face. The program helps the individual form an employment goal based on their needs.
  • Job development is the next step and includes learning job search skills, application completion, creating resumes and cover letters, contacting employers, and interviewing skills. On-the-job training is provided, which includes social and communication skills.
  • Long-term follow-up support is also available and is tailored to meet the needs of the individual.
  • Social and community skills training is provided through individual and group counseling and activities.

What makes TEACCH Supported Employment work?

Photo of Amy, A food service worker for a large international organization

"At Division TEACCH we believe that every individual with ASD is unique and that they all have potential within them. It has been our mission in the Supported Employment program to find and utilize the latest treatment approaches and apply them to the most difficult setting we know, the competitive employment world."

"…We schedule a community-based evaluation that allows us to determine not just the vocational skills the individual possesses, but also to see how autism affects their ability to access those skills in an employment setting."

- Michael Chapman, Director of Supported Employment

Program Effectiveness

  • 31 individuals were served during fiscal year 2009.
  • Each individual received on average 200 hours of job coach support, including assessment, job preparation, work adjustment training, on site training and follow-up.
  • Placements of 90 days or longer:
    • Supported employment=31
    • Receiving continued job coaching=162
  • Placements were in a variety of industries including: professional/technical/managerial, clerical/sales, service, janitorial, and agricultural/fishery/forestry with a pay range of $7.15-$18.00/hr
  • Job Placement Success rate of 100% (31 of 31 consumers)

What do employers have to say about TEACCH Supported Employment?

"We are very blessed to have such a wonderful employee."

"Annie (the job coach) always makes sure that (our employee) always has the learning tools he needs to succeed"

- Kenneth Williamson

David works as an accountant for University of North Carolina

"We have the dual pleasure of having Erin and Iris involved in our company. Erin is autistic and does a very nice job in the bindery.  Iris is her coach of many years and does her job professionally awe as being a friendly person who we all enjoy to see.  Erin trusts Iris implicitly and responds to her instruction very carefully.  It is our pleasure to have both these fine ladies as our workmates and associates."


What do parents and consumers have to say about TEACCH supported employment?

Photo of Todd working at the County Library

"The TEACCH Supported Employment Program has done an outstanding job helping me maintain good employment."

- Jeff P

"TEACCH has been a blessing in my life. TEACCH staff does a good job in helping me deal with working conditions. I think another one of my greatest hopes of individuals with autism, other individuals with autism who do not seem to have hope, my hope is that they will achieve the same level of success I have in getting a job like this one or similar.. and more over I hope they'll be as happy too."

- John C

Costs of Program

The program has an annual operating budget of $800,000. The program is funded in part by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Grants, and consumer paid fees.


Job TitleTotal NumberPercent TimeKey Tasks
Director 1 100% Coordination, program direction, consultation, education and training (staff and other agencies), advocacy.
Vocational Coordinator 2 1=100%
Scheduling, consultation to staff and other agencies. Advocacy, paperwork.
VR Job Coach 4 100% Assessment, job development, intensive training.
Long Term Support Job Coach 14 100% Long Term Support, programming design and implementation.
Billing Staff 3 PTE 2=50%
Billing paperwork.
Totals 21 FTE

Necessary for successful replication

  • Staff with a thorough understanding of the abilities and challenges that persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Individualized programs to meet the unique needs of each client

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