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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
E-Newsletter-September 2012, Issue 9 PDF Print E-mail

SEDL's VR Autism Newsletter Fall 2012

Fall 2012
National Advisory Panel Meeting
Photograph of SEDL building located in Austin, Texas

On August 1, 2012, the National Advisory Panel met for VR Autism's annual meeting at SEDL headquarters in Austin, Texas. The panel members include:

  • Susan Foley, research director, Institute for Community Inclusion and Rehabilitation Research and Training Center of Vocational Rehabilitation, University of Massachusetts at Boston;
  • Anna Hundley, executive director, Autism Treatment Centers;
  • Alice Hunnicutt, director, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development;
  • Frank McCamant, chair, Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders;
  • Don Uchida, executive director, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.

SEDL staff participating in the meeting included John Westbrook, project director, and Ann Williams, program specialist. In addition, Chad Nye and Bruce Blake with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of Central Florida attended the meeting.

Nine innovative autism employment programs were reviewed by the panel for possible designation as an Effective Program. Prior to the meeting, SEDL staff, an outside consultant, and panel members individually rated the programs. The programs the panel determined to be effective in facilitating movement of people with ASD into competitive settings will be announced in the near future and will be highlighted in new webcasts and on VR Autism's website.

Systematic Review update

The Campbell Collaboration (C2) logoVR Autism's second systematic review seeks to answer the question: What are the characteristics of effective school-to-work transition programs for students with ASD? To answer this question, project staff developed a search protocol to find all research activities that answer this question. The protocol for this systematic review was published September 1, 2012 with the Campbell Collaboration (C2) and is now guiding the production of this systematic review.

Using technology to benefit workers with ASD

Photo of Apple Pod TouchResearchers at Virginia Commonwealth University published an article in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation detailing the innovative uses of the iPod Touch in assisting people with ASD in their jobs.

In this article, The Apple iPod Touch as a vocational support aid for adults with autism: Three case studies, job coaches taught three consumers with ASD how to use iPod Touch Notes, Clock, Camera and other add-on applications to manage the challenges of getting to work and independently completing their job tasks. A combination of alarms, pictures, written descriptions, and audio prompts proved effective in increasing successful work performance and decreasing the need for constant supervision. Utilizing PDAs as assistive technologies is a relatively simple, yet effective, way of providing job support to employees with ASD.

A webcast hosted by VR Autism last April featured authors of this report and highlighted PDAs as customized support tools. An archive of the webcast is up and free to view for CRCC credit.

The VR-Autism project is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). View full disclaimer