Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Taylor, J.L., & Mailick, M.R. (2014). A longitudinal examination of 10-year change in vocational and educational activities for adults with autism spectrum disorders. Developmental Psychology, 50 (3), 699-708.
Title:  A longitudinal examination of 10-year change in vocational and educational activities for adults with autism spectrum disorders
Authors:  Taylor, J.L., & Mailick, M.R.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Developmental Psychology
Publisher:  American Psychological Association
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  As one of the most critical life changes, transition from adolescent to adulthood for individuals with autism spectrum disorders entails challenges. Transition outcomes have shown improvement in the pursuit of adult independence, but individuals and families are still in the face of difficulties mastering adult service system and identifying educational and vocational activities.
Purpose:  By examining 10-year trajectories of vocational and educational activities in adults with ASD, the study aims to see (1) whether the adults became more or less independent in their vocational and educational activities over time; (2) what personal characteristics and contextual resources at the starting point of the study independently predict the Vocational Index score; (3) which personal characteristics and contextual resources predicted change in Vocational Index score over this 10-year period.
Study sample:  One hundred and sixty-one participants which ASD who were at age 10 or older at the recruitment phase; the participation pool was drawn from a larger longitudinal study.
Intervention:  N/A
Control or comparison condition:  N/A
Data collection and analysis:  This longitudinal study makes use of six waves of data, including parent and child data. Variables include vocational and educational activities, maladaptive behaviors, residential status, family income, parental support network, services, autism symptoms, and comorbid intellectual disability. Multilevel modeling was the primary method used for data analysis to examine the three aims of the study.
Findings:  Results indicated significant declines in the level of independence and engagement in vocational/educational activities over the study period, particularly for women. Greater independence in vocational activities was found for those with more independence in activities of daily living. After controlling for personal characteristics, receipt of more services was marginally related to greater improvement in vocational independence.
Conclusions:  Overall, personal characteristics of adults with ASD are important factors that product their vocational and educational activities throughout adulthood. Other factors such as parents advocacy, public funding for services are also worth noting as influential factors for vocational engagement of adults with ASD.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)