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Postsecondary Education and Employment for Youth With Autism: Preliminary Results From a Customized Transition Program

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Keywords:

autism, transition, postsecondary education, customized employment, inclusion

Abstract

This primary objective of this article, published in Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education/Special Issue on Emerging Disabilities,is to provide an overview of a customized transition program, The Learning Academy (TLA), for students with autism.

Background/Purpose

Autism spectrum disorders encompass a group of neurodevelopmental disorders whose defining features include deficits in social communication across multiple contexts (American Psychological Association, 2011). The prevalence of autism has been increasing at an alarming rate stemming from changes in diagnostic criteria, genetic risk factors, and growing awareness of the condition.

Objective

This primary objective of this article is to provide an overview of a customized transition program, The Learning Academy (TLA), for students with autism.

Method

Pretest/posttest survey tool.

Findings

Fifty-eight percent (n=15) of respondents reported employment after attending TLA. Of these individuals, 80% (n=12) report they are currently working. Data from a prior survey year captured information from a larger percentage of TLA graduates (85% response rate; n=51) with a total of 63% (n=32) reporting that they had obtained competitive or self-employment.

Conclusions

Preliminary evidence indicates that the TLA program is effective in improving postsecondary education and employment rates in graduates. Implications for rehabilitation counseling research, policy, and education are presented.

Citation

Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education Vol 33 Issue 1, DOI:10.1891/2168-6653.33.1.65

 

Faculty & Staff