Research helps people on autism spectrum find meaningful work

Autism research has been used to set up the first free employment profiling service to help more people on the autistic spectrum find meaningful work.

The employment profiling services aim to help employers make reasonable adjustments in the workplace so that employees on the autism spectrum can thrive in employment.

The services have been designed by a team of experts in autism and employment at the University of Portsmouth, led by Dr Beatriz López.

Dr López has won awards for the Autism Centre for Research on Employment (ACRE), which uses research to develop tools for employers and people on the autistic spectrum.

Only 16 per cent of adults on the spectrum are in full-time employment, compared to 47 per cent of people with other disabilities.

Our research shows that one of the largest barriers to employment is failure to make adjustments in the workplace. Our research, and that of others, shows that autism is a very diverse condition and there is not one formula that will work for all.

Dr Beatriz López, Department of Psychology

Dr López said: “Despite many efforts by the government and the third sector, employment rates in autism remain stubbornly low. Our goal is to enhance the job opportunities of people on the autism spectrum without, or with mild learning disabilities.

“Our research shows that one of the largest barriers to employment is failure to make adjustments in the workplace. Our research, and that of others, shows that autism is a very diverse condition and there is not one formula that will work for all. Unfortunately, employers do not have sufficient knowledge to assess the needs of their employees.”

Dr Lopez’s website also includes tools to help people on the autism spectrum to take control and learn how to find their ideal job.

This section includes preparing and looking for work, identifying values and strengths, and discussions on if, and when, to tell an employer you are on the spectrum.

The website also provides university students in the UK with tools to help them develop self-advocacy as they prepare to graduate and enter the world of work.

The profiling service is free under the University of Portsmouth’s commitment to have a positive impact on the community.

To find out more about the Employment Toolkit and the profiling services, visit: port.ac.uk/acre/employment

The University Toolkit can be found: port.ac.uk/acre/student

The site is owned and managed by the University of Portsmouth, and is sponsored by Portsmouth City Council.

ACRE won first prize for outstanding adult services in the 2016 national Autism Professional Awards.

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