Wehman, P. H., Schall, C. M., Mcdonough, J., Kregel, J., Brooke, V., Molinelli, A., . . . Thiss, W. (2014). Competitive employment for youth with autism spectrum disorders: Early results from a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(3), 487-500. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.bsu.edu/10.1007/s10803-013-1892-x
For most youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), employment upon graduation from high school or college is elusive. Employment rates are reported in many studies to be very low despite many years of intensive special education services. This paper presented the preliminary results of a randomized clinical trial of Project SEARCH plus ASD Supports on the employment outcomes for youth with ASD between the ages of 18–21 years of age. This model provides very promising results in that the employment outcomes for youth in the treatment group were much higher in non-traditional jobs with higher than minimum wage incomes than for youth in the control condition. Specifically, 21 out of 24 (87.5 %) treatment group participants acquired employment while 1 of 16 (6.25 %) of control group participants acquired employment.
Gaining employment can be challenging for a typical developing individual but can be an extreme arduous for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The employment rates for these individuals range between 4.1% and 11.8%. There agencies that offer vocational rehabilitation programs which help with job placement, but they have been having difficulties placing individuals who are transitioning. This age group is becoming one of the largest groups that are receiving services yet the success rate in landing employment has dropped significantly.
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There have been many studies done in hopes of identify components that affect individuals with intellectual disabilities and finding employment. Common components are cognitive ability along with higher educational attainment and family support. The study Competitive employment for youth with autism spectrum disorders: Early results from a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders was done see how supported employment affects individuals with ASD. In this study 33 young adults were placed in a supported employment program and by the end of the study 27 were placed in competitive employment. The researchers changed some of the aspects of a youth employment program with ASD specific intervention. Some of these changes include behavioral consultation with a behavior analyst, use of ASD specific visual supports and intensive social skill instruction through role play and behavioral practices.
The researchers implemented a random clinical design including treatment and control groups. The participants were from two public special education programs that had students in their last year of high school; they had to submit an application to participate in the program. Interviews were conducted to see ensure the applicants met the criteria which included being over the age of 18, had an ASD diagnosis, were independent and self-caring, had the capability to provide consent and had continued eligibility for special education services in high school. There were 70 students who applied to participate but 26 of those individuals did not meet eligibility requirements and 4 later dropped out. Numbers were assigned, placing the participants in either the control or treatment group. Both groups were assessed three times throughout the study. The first assessment was done to establish a baseline for data, then again at the end of the school year or 9 months of intervention, and finally 3 months post completion of school or 9-month intervention.
In order to make these assessments the Supports Intensity Scale was used to evaluate adaptive behavior and level of support needed. This scale is composed of the following six subscales: home living, community living, lifelong learning, employment, health and safety and social. Scores were given from these subscales and each individual received a support index score giving the specifics on the level of support they needed. Generally, the treatment group proved to obtain much higher employment rates including competitive employment. During the three-year period an unlikely occupation many students excelled at was in the field of healthcare. However the data may skewed slightly due to the four participants who had dropped out earlier in the study. This article gives good insight on how difficult it can be for an individual with ASD to obtain and retain a job, even when assisted by programs and interventions.
ASD and Adult Relationships
Fernandes, L. C., Gillberg, C. I., Cederlund, M., Hagberg, B., Gillberg, C., & Billstedt, E. (2016). Aspects of sexuality in adolescents and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in childhood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(9), 3155-3165. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.bsu.edu/10.1007/s10803-016-2855-9
The literature concerning sexuality in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is limited regarding inappropriate sexual behaviours and paraphilias and its relation to age, verbal ability, symptom severity, intellectual ability, or adaptive functioning. A cohort of 184 adolescents and young adults (ages 15–39 years) with ASD diagnosed in childhood, including both low and high functioning individuals, was examined. The large majority were found to have a sexual interest and showed interest towards the opposite sex. Inappropriate sexual behaviours and paraphilias were reported for about a fourth of the individuals. No relationships were found between inappropriate sexual behaviours and any of the background variables listed above. However, associations were found between paraphilias and ASD symptom severity, intellectual ability, and adaptive functioning.
Those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) go through the same physical changes as a typically developing individual, but due to the lack of understand in verbal and nonverbal social communication and interactions their relationship development with peers and romantic interests are negatively impacted. There have not been many studies done that focus on the effects of social deficits on maturation in regard to those individuals with Autism Spectrum disorder. From the research that has been done on the subject it has been shown that individuals with ASD who engage in less sexual behaviors has more sexual frustration and depression. This is a new topic of interest in research, for many years it was assumed that ASD individuals had no sexual interest at all. It has now been proven that ASD are of all sexually orientation and gender. This study looked at sexual interest, orientation, activity, issues with sexuality, inappropriate sexual behaviors and paraphilias in ASD.
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There were 675 individuals on the ASD spectrum who participated in this study, and the majority of them showed to have some sexual interests at varying levels, but there was a third of these individuals who had no evident of sexual interest. 60% of these individuals showed interest towards the opposite sex while 29% showed sexual interest in the same sex. The study also focused on ASD and inappropriate behavior. The most common inappropriate sexual behaviors found were masturbation in public, indecent exposure and inappropriate heterosexual behavior.
The study also evaluates the outcome sexuality in young adults with ASD. These individuals were asked to complete the Sexuality Questionnaire. The results of this study showed that 93% had sexual interest; 89% heterosexual, 5% same sex and 5% both sexes. Researchers also looked inappropriate behavior the results the most common inappropriate sexual behaviors seen in this group were sexual interests toward children and indecent exposure.
ASD and Crime
Cheely, C. A., Carpenter, L. A., Letourneau, E. J., Nicholas, J. S., Charles, J., & King, L. B. (2012). The prevalence of youth with autism spectrum disorders in the criminal justice system. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(9), 1856-62. doi:http://dx.doi.org.proxy.bsu.edu/10.1007/s10803-011-1427-2
Past surveys have reported high rates of youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice system, however, little research has examined the frequency with which youth with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are in contact with law enforcement. Using records linkage with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Program (SC ADDM), this study compares the frequency, type, and outcome of criminal charges for youth with ASD and non ASD youth. Youth with ASD had higher rates of crimes against persons and lower rates of crimes against property. Youth with ASD were more likely to be diverted into pretrial interventions and less likely to be prosecuted than comparison youth. When compared to the overall SC ADDM sample, charged youth were less likely to have comorbid intellectual disability
Research in the area of youth with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) within the criminal justice system is a fairly new topic of research. Individuals with ASD have a lack of social skills along with impaired communication and interactions, which means individuals with ASD do not truly understand the enormity of what breaking the law means and the possible consequences that come along with those actions. The potential for these instances is increased when a dual diagnosis like ADHD or ODD is present as well. When a census was taken of youth who are incarcerated found that thirty three percent of them had some kind of disability and qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act yet, of those only ten percent suffered from an intellectual disability. However, only eight percent of all youth incarcerated are individuals with ASD.
The study focused on three issues with ASD youth and incarceration. The first addressed the frequency and type of criminal charges a youth with ASD would have, second to compare the adjudication outcomes for youth with ASD vs non ASD, and finally to compare charged youth with ASD to other charged youth with ASD in hopes of finding a general identifiable way offer an indicator if it might lead to more deviant behaviors. Participants were selected from information provided to them by the Department of Juvenile Justice, education and health and clinic records were also evaluated and were selected from counties in South Carolina. Once researchers found the participants they were looking for, they categorized the offenses into six categories which included: crimes against persons, crimes against property, drug violations, offenses against public order, status offenses and other offenses. There were 609 youths that qualified for the study and in regard to these individuals the most common charge was crime against persons whereas the typically developing youth is property offenses. Youth with ASD were also more likely to get their charges dismissed.
This article brought up an important key topic that should be researched more. It is important information and needs to be widely known. It should be made apparent that when dealing with this specific population it is important to recognize the disability and deliver punishment accordingly.
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