Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Promoting Social Interaction Skills to Influence Employment for Older Youths With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Author Affiliations
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of New Hampshire
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Prevention and Intervention
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Promoting Social Interaction Skills to Influence Employment for Older Youths With Autism Spectrum Disorders
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515234. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO7083
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911515234. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO7083
Abstract

Date Presented 4/18/2015

Qualitative research on the perspective of parents of youths with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and school staff suggests that needed social interaction skills and strategies to address these skills need to be included in transition programming to support future employment.

SIGNIFICANCE: This study is significant as it contributes to understanding social interaction for youths with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) from multiple perspectives and considers ways to facilitate social interaction to influence future employability. The research provides the information needed for occupational therapists to contribute to a more effective transition plan, leading to adulthood employment. This study documents successful strategies to support social interaction that are currently used by multiple supporting adults and suggests unmet opportunities for occupational therapists to consider new opportunities to address social interaction in natural contexts. Although many youths with ASDs are capable of entering into employment and have skills that can make their productivity in the workplace even higher than others’, decreased social interaction skills limit obtaining and keeping a job, resulting in unsuccessful transition of older youths into adulthood. Work-related interactions are important for problem solving and collaborating around a task with coworkers. Acquisition of needed social interaction skills must occur during high school years as part of youths’ transition programs. This qualitative study, in progress, contributes to understanding social interaction for youths with ASDs from the perspective of parents, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals. Specifically, in this study, we (1) explore the strategies used to facilitate social skills to prepare youths with ASDs for employment, (2) identify social skills currently targeted, and (3) identify other supports needed to enhance youths’ social interaction skills to prepare them for transition to employment.
METHOD: Participants from varying perspectives will meet separately in focus groups. Participants were recruited from multiple school districts. Analysis of transcribed data from the focus group discussions will identify themes addressing each of the research aims. Data will be analyzed for perspectives among and between the different respondent groups.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: This study is in progress. Preliminary analysis indicates that the data indeed address the research aims and will suggest opportunities for occupational therapy to enhance the acquisition of social interaction skills to support transition planning, leading to employability for older youths with ASDs.