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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
R.5 Research Study Print E-mail

R.5: CARD Case Studies of Successful Individuals with ASD
Research Activity 5 involves in-depth case studies of individuals with ASD who have experienced employment successes. This study will collect and analyze interview data from consumers and family members to enrich understandings regarding effective practices. In addition, the case studies will include consumers who have experienced obstacles to success.


Overview

This research activity involves in-depth case studies of individuals with ASD who have experienced employment successes. This study will collect and analyze interview data from consumers and family members to enrich understandings regarding effective practices. In addition, the case studies will include consumers who have experienced obstacles to success.


What is the purpose of this study?

This study is designed to document the employment experiences of consumers with ASD using a case-study approach. The study will focus on consumers who have been successfully employed for 12 months or longer.


What is a case study?

Yin (2003) defines the case study research design as an investigation of contemporary phenomena within its real-life context. Generally, case studies are in-depth and prolonged examinations of a small number of people. Case studies can bring an understanding of complex issues, extend experience, and add strength to what is known or implied from other forms of research; they are also powerful tools for generating new hypotheses for future research. Case studies on individuals with ASD can generate particular knowledge that can be transferred to other similar situations.


What are the primary research questions?

Case studies require flexible in protocol and design (Merrian, 2002). While many questions might emerge during the study, two overarching questions will guide the case study activities.

  1. To what do individuals with ASD attribute their success in obtaining and maintaining employment?
  2. How do individuals with ASD perceive threats to maintenance of employment?

Who are the participants for this study?

Adults and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will participate in the study. ASD is an umbrella term; the spectrum includes: Asperger, Autism, Rhett Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder.


Who is on the study team?

The research team consists of John D. Westbrook, PhD, Principal Investigator for the grant, Chad Nye, PhD, and Karen Wesley, MEd. The research team is skilled in qualitative research design, management, and analysis.


How will the study data be analyzed?

Case study data will be aggregated, categorized, and analyzed by employment success and threats to employment, with cross-case analysis of similarities, differences, and patterns across cases.


What is the intended outcome from this study?

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

  1. Identification and assessment of effective employment programs and 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.