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Research needs and priorities for transition and employment in autism: Considerations reflected in a "Special Interest Group" at the International Meeting for Autism Research

David B Nicholas, Sandra Hodgetts, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Leann E Smith, Paul Shattuck, Jeremy R Parr, Olivia Conlon, Tamara Germani, Wendy Mitchell, Lori Sacrey, Margot E Stothers
Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research 2017, 10 (1): 15-24
27753278
Research related to supports for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is under-developed. As an example, system and service development to support successful transition to adulthood and meaningful vocation for adults has received relatively little research scrutiny until recently, with practitioners and program developers lacking evidenceinformed approaches guiding service delivery. A Special Interest Group (SIG) was convened at the International Meeting for Autism Research in May 2014 and May 2015, with a focus on transitional and vocational issues in ASD. The SIG consisted of 120 international delegates, including self-advocates, family members, researchers, program and policy developers, practitioners, and interdisciplinary ASD trainees. Following a summary of the literature, subgroups of attendees were convened in smaller groups to identify research needs and priorities. International researchers facilitated these discussions with notes taken in each subgroup. Using a qualitative analytic approach, key themes across groups were identified. These key themes, outlined in this paper, address the identified need to (a) advance research capacity; (b) build employer capacity relative to employing persons with ASD; and (c) enhance support resources for adults with ASD and their families. Heightened research activity guiding practice and policy, community/employer engagement, and person and family-centered services were recommended. Implications for advancement and implementation are offered. Autism Res 2017, 10: 15-24. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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