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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
E-Newsletter-December 2012, Issue 7 PDF Print E-mail
S E D L logo - Advancing Research Improving Education

December 2011 VR Autism Newsletter

Happy Holidays from the VR Autism team at SEDL! We’re steadily working away on this project and have some updates to share with you.

Systematic Reviews

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Adult employment assistance services for persons with autism spectrum disorders: Effects on employment outcomes, the first systematic review this project has been completed and is awaiting publication by the Campbell Collaboration.

Project staff is working on an additional systematic review focusing on the effectiveness of transition employment programs for youth and young adults with ASD. A preliminary search of the literature has identified 5,000 articles for further review.

These systematic reviews are beneficial to people with ASD for multiple reasons. The first systematic review on adult employment services shows that there is little research currently available that assesses the effectiveness of programs designed to serve adults with ASD with finding and maintaining employment. Qualitative research in this area does show promising practices and gives a strong basis for future rigorous research. Findings from these reviews are useful to identify current gaps in the research and suggest areas for further research studies. Policymakers can use these systematic reviews to identify key characteristics of the evidence-based techniques and practices that work in getting people with ASD into employment settings.

Effective program profiles

Glenn and his supervisor, Mike, at PaneraPhoto of Glenn and his supervisor, Mike, at Panera

Meet Glenn: For Glenn Crast, a 25 year old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), working at Panera Bread provides a sense of achievement and an opportunity to save money so he can enjoy his love for travel. “I really enjoy working at Panera Bread,” says Glenn. “Everyone is friendly, always treating me with respect.” Glenn found his job at Panera with the help of Wildwood Programs, an organization based in Latham, New York, that helps people with ASD find jobs and advance in their careers. Read more about Glenn and how he smoothly transitioned into his job at Panera Bread.

Glenn is just one example of many people with ASD who are getting help finding jobs at employment programs throughout the United States. The VR Autism project’s national panel of experts identified four programs in 2011 that have proven effectiveness in getting people with ASD into long-term competitive jobs.

These four programs- Wildwood Programs, VCU’s RRTC, The Groden Network of Programs and the Autism Society of North Carolina- were awarded designation into the Effective Program classification.

Wildwood Programs and the Autism Society of North Carolina have their programs profiled on the VR autism website. In the upcoming weeks the remaining employment programs, The Groden Network of Programs and VCU’s RRTC, will be profiled on the VR Autism website.


On December 14, 2011, SEDL hosted a webcast featuring Wildwood Programs. Joshua Muchmore, Director of Employment Services at Wildwood, presented on the strengths-based approach that Wildwood uses when partnering with businesses and employees with ASD. Mr. Muchmore attributes the 82% employment rate of the people Wildwood Programs to a “Ready-First” philosophy that focuses on individuals' strengths and experiences and gearing these assets toward specific jobs. This philosophy increases an individual's chances for success, helps to avoid unnecessary failure, and better responds to the needs of the business community, which in turn increases the opportunities for lasting partnerships.

This webcast and the summer webcast series are archived on the VR Autism website. CRCC continuing education credits are available for participating in these webcasts until December 31, 2011. Please remember to fill out the evaluation to receive your credit!

Keep an eye out for three more webcasts featuring VCU RRTC, Groden Network of Programs, and the Autism Society of North Carolina. These webcasts are currently being planned and will occur early in 2012.

Effective Programs
Autism Society of North Carolina logo