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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Jan;48(1):264-275. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3351-6.

An Ecosystem Approach to Employment and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Faculty of Social Work (Central and Northern Alberta Region), University of Calgary, 3-250, 10230 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB, T5J 4P6, Canada.
Sinneave Family Foundation, 300, 3820 - 24 Avenue NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 2X9, Canada.
Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4, Canada.
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 3-300 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405 - 87 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB, T6G 1C9, Canada.


Relatively little is yet known about employment readiness and elements that promote access to, and the retention of, employment for adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This paper posits elements within the ecosystem of employment and ASD. The ecosystem approach locates employment among persons with ASD as inextricably linked with broader community resources, family support, workplace capacity building (e.g., employer, co-workers) and policy. Application of the approach is offered through process evaluation data yielded from an ecosystem-informed job readiness program entitled, 'EmploymentWorks Canada'. Findings illustrate job readiness in the context of the broader ecosystem that envelopes salient components in the aim of community engagement and quality of life. Recommendations are offered for community-based applications and for program and research development.


Autism spectrum disorder; Ecosystem; Employment; Employment support; Job readiness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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