Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Special Education

First Advisor

Yaoying Xu

Second Advisor

Carol Schall

Third Advisor

Kevin Sutherland

Fourth Advisor

Kelli Gary


The purpose of this study was to conduct a needs assessment identifying the current level of training, training needs, and challenges to supporting adults with autism and significant support needs, such as challenging behavior, to access integrated employment. Foundational literature in employment indicates that employment service providers must possess an expansive skillset in order to perform the expectations of their profession. Research on supporting adults with autism to access employment indicates that skills above the traditional employment skills may be needed in order to obtain and maintain employment. This was one of the first studies to assess the needs of staff providing employment services to adults with autism. Study findings indicate that employment service providers continue to have high training needs in skills integral to the provision of employment services to individuals with disabilities but also training needs specific to serving adults with autism, to include challenging behavior and needs related to the primary and secondary characteristics of autism. Service provider self-reported training needs and challenges indicate that facilitating employment for this population will require a multi-faceted approach to target all stakeholders.


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