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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
R.4 Research Study Print E-mail

R4: An Evaluation of CARD Direct Service Practices and Employment Outcomes
This research will focus employment interventions used by the Florida CARD network and their associated outcomes with people with ASD, including subpopulations with differing conditions and severity of disability. R.4 is designed to increase knowledge about the interventions used in providing direct service to consumers with ASD by a statewide network of service providers and that are related to short and long-term success in competitive, integrated job placements. Outcomes from this study will include empirical assessment of CARD network practices, and identification and dissemination of those that are linked to successful outcomes.


Overview

This study is designed to increase knowledge about the interventions used in providing direct service to consumers with ASD by the Florida CARD network. The study focuses on employment interventions and their associated outcomes for people with ASD, including subpopulations with differing conditions and severity of disability. Outcomes from this study will include empirical assessment of CARD network practices, and identification and dissemination of those that are linked to successful outcomes.


What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to evaluate UCF CARD’s Direct Service Practices for Individuals with ASD. This study is being conducted to determine the most effective strategies for supporting students that are interested in achieving employment outcomes. The study is designed to increase knowledge about the interventions used in providing direct service to consumers with ASD by a statewide network of service providers and that are related to short and long-term success in competitive, integrated job placements.


What are the primary research questions?

R.4 includes several interrelated program evaluation questions.

  1. Is there a significant difference in successful Status 26 closure rates achieved by CARD network members compared to general rates of closures reported by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)?

  2. Are interventions practiced by CARD significantly different from practices identified as best practice by state VR directors?

  3. Are Status 26 closure rates achieved through CARD network members similar or dissimilar for consumers across the range of autism spectrum disorders?

Who are the participants for this study?

Adults and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will participate in the study. ASD includes: Aspergers, Autism, Rhett Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Up to 10 participants will be involved in the evaluation annually. All participants are members of the CARD program and in need of employment-oriented services.


What are the primary outcome measures?

This research activity is oriented toward learning how effective the CARD network is at placing people with ASD in competitive employment situations.


Who is on the study team?

The research team for the R.4 consists of John D. Westbrook, Ph.D., Chad Nye, PhD, and Karen Wesley. The research team is skilled in research design, management, and analysis. The National Advisory Panel for the Vocational Rehabilitation Autism Spectrum Disorders project will provide additional input and review for the study.


How will the study data be analyzed?

Data analysis will focus on successful employment outcomes (i.e. closure rates). Closure rates will be compared to annually reported data from the federal-state funded Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for consumers with ASD. Sensitivity analysis will be conducted to determine effect of variation and within data group differences.


What is the intended outcome from this study?

There are many individual and societal benefits to this study, including:

  1. Identification and assessment of available research on the effectiveness employment programs and programs demonstrating a quantitative impact on employment characteristics such as job type, workplace supports, length of employment, and sustained income.

  2. Identification of existing 'best practices' in the employment of individuals with autism.

  3. Identification and assessment of effective transition programs from school to work environments for adolescents through young adult ages.

  4. Development of an employment support program based on quantitative and qualitative evidence from research and field.