Increasing Independence and Task Completion in Adolescents and Adults With ASD Using Independent Work Systems

Individuals with ASD often have difficulty completing tasks or a series of tasks independent of caregiver/staff support. This reliance on caregiver presence or prompting has likely contributed to the dismal employment rate for individuals with ASD, as well as to a number of poor outcomes that adolescents and adults with ASD have reported (e.g., inability to live independently). Though a number of interventions are proven to increase independent functioning, few have been established as effective with older individuals with ASD, and fewer still in natural settings, such as schools or job sites. This research will extend the use of work systems -- an evidence-based practice with school-aged children that provides visual information about what one is expected to do -- to adolescents and adults. The studies will be conducted at various school and employment sites throughout North Carolina and will include six individuals (3 adolescents and 3 adults) with ASD ages 16 and up. Two multiple baseline studies will examine the impacts of work system usage across setting on on-task behavior and accurate task completion. In addition, data related to adult prompting and task complexity will be explored. This research is expected to yield valuable information to caregivers and service providers regarding the efficacy of independent work systems for individuals with ASD. 

FPG Project Staff:
Kara Hume, Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Organization for Autism Research
Funding Period: 06/01/2011 - 09/30/2012
Award Amount: $26,861