Do sheltered workshops enhance employment outcomes for adults with autism spectrum disorder?
Robert Evert CimeraKent State University, Ohio, USA
Paul WehmanVirginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Michael WestVirginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Sloane BurgessKent State University, Ohio, USARobert Evert Cimera, 405 White Hall, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA. Email:email@example.com
This study investigated whether sheltered workshops help prepare individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for competitive employment within the community. Two groups of individuals were compared: (a) 215 supported employees who were in sheltered workshops prior to entering supported employment and (b) 215 supported employees who were not in sheltered workshops. Individuals from both groups were matched based on their primary diagnosis, secondary diagnosis (if present), and gender. Results showed that there were no differences in rates of employment between these two groups. However, individuals who participated in sheltered workshops earned significantly less (US$129.36 versus US$191.42 per week), and cost significantly more to serve (US$6,065.08 versus US$2,440.60), than their non-sheltered workshop peers. Results presented here suggest that individuals with ASD achieve better vocational outcomes if they do not participate in sheltered workshops prior to enrolling in supported employment.