Kristin K. Higgins Ph.D., LPC, Certified School Counselor Paper Authors: K. Higgins, L. Koch, E. Boughfman, C. Vierstra Holes in the Research/Literature Asperger Syndrome Overview Psychosocial Impact of Asperger Syndrome Work Related Challenges School-to-Work Transition ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Career Exploration Job Seeking Skills Training Supported Employment/Education Accomodations Planning Services to Employers Number of articles, research, studies looking at the entire range of ASD in relation to identification, treatment, and school-based interventions. Limited research focusing on the vocational needs of adolescents and young adults on the higher end of the spectrum. Some have begun to explore the needs of individuals with ASD in relation to postsecondary education and vocational skill development*, but often these works attempt to comprehensively address all disorders on the spectrum and fail to provide information about diagnosis-specific interventions and programs. *Ardeon & Durocher, 2007; Atwood, 2007: Dillon, 2007; Hillier, Fish, Cloppert, & Beversdorf, 2007; Howlin, Alcock, & Burkin, 2005; Hurlbutt & Chalmers, 2004; & Kitchen, 2007 One of five pervasive developmental disorders known as ASD First coin as “Autistic Psychopathy” in 1944 by Austrian Pediatrician, Hans Asperger. Was not widely know in English speaking countries until Lorna Wing published on the subject in the 1980’s. Was not recognized by the American Psychological Association until 1994 (Barnhill, 2007). “Life-long developmental disorder, that is considered to fall on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum disorder” (Barnhill, 2007). Aspergers is present in 7 out of 1000 births. 1 in 200 primary school age children have Aspergers (Cohen-Baron, 2005) Individuals with Aspergers often look “normal” but their behaviors are considered abnormal by society Symptomalolgy ranging from mild to severe- often difficult to portray accurate picture of the disorder. A. Qualitative impairment in social interactions, as manifested by at least two of the following: ◦ Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors. ◦ Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level. ◦ Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others. ◦ Lack of social or emotional reciprocity. C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language. E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior, and other curiosity about the environment in childhood. F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia. 1. Lack of empathy. ◦ Not to be confused with Theory of Mind (TOM). “inherent disability of putting themselves in someone else's shoes or understanding the psychological perspective of others” (Lacava, et al, 2007. p. 174) 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Empathy is reacting to the individual once TOM has been accomplished (Lacava, et al, 2007) Inappropriate one-sided conversations. Little or no ability to form friendships. Repetitive speech. Poor non-verbal communications. Intense absorption in certain objects/subjects. 7. Clumsiness. “Aspergers lack the ability to understand and use the unwritten rules governing social behavior” (Wing, as cited by Lee & Park, 2007, p. 132-33) Functional impairments and marked deficiencies in social interactions, communication, and behaviors. (vary by individual) Viewed by others as odd, egocentric, peculiar, or loners. Few, if any, meaningful peer relationships. Co-morbidity of other disorders Increases social distance between the individual with AS and his or her peers Emerge from the deficits in social skills and communication skills Difficulties both in job attainment and job retention Interview difficulties Skills necessary to work effectively on work teams Challenges related to stigma associated with their disability and accompanying negative perceptions of their co-workers and superiors. Requires a wide array of transition services over an extended period of time View individual holistically- strengths, challenges, and opportunities Team representing a variety of disciplines Working alliance model (Bordin, 1994) ◦ Assessement and intervention strategies promoting early intervention ◦ Extensive job acquisition and placement support ◦ On-going follow up Provide opportunities for introductory work experiences Provide avenues for: ◦ Discovering the world of work ◦ Learn and practice general work behaviors ◦ Develop self-awareness of strengths, weaknesses, and career interests ◦ Match their abilities, interests, etc. to the world of work Focus on strengths and assets that he/she has to offer a potential employer Break down tasks of finding a job into manageable steps Ample time in a supportive and nonthreatening environment to practice interview, cold call, responding to inquires etc. ◦ Scripts ◦ Role plays ◦ Immediate constructive feedback Resume assistance Further practice, therapy for the use of pragmatic language skills Address and practice disability disclosure ◦ Timing ◦ Requesting Accomadations Group training can be especially advantageous Supported employment is a job placement and training intervention designed to prepare people with disabilities for competitive employment in integrated, community-based work settings Services are targeted at: (Job Coaches) ◦ (a) determining the individual’s abilities and support needs in the workplace; ◦ (b) locating and obtaining suitable employment; ◦ (c) identifying and providing workplace supports to enhance job performance; and ◦ (d) problem solving issues that, if left unaddressed could lead to termination of employment Supported education emphasizes the provision of extensive services, above and beyond the academic support services that are typically provided to students with disabilities, to address behaviors that may interfere with success and to facilitate a positive adjustment to the academic environment Examples: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Stress management training Tutoring Peer support Faculty mentorships Career counseling Adjustment Counseling Referral to campus resources Increasing self-advocacy skills: ◦ Access to information about legal protections ◦ Develop skills at disclosing disability information ◦ Identify and request accommodation needs Examples of Potential Accommodations: ◦ Provide advanced notice of topics for meetings ◦ Bring job coach, co-worker etc. to meetings ◦ Communicate in writing rather than verbally Efforts directed towards employers focus on understanding the workplace’s normative behavioral and communicative standards Educate the employer to understand how individuals with ASDs may have a difficult time meeting these normative standards Help employers to develop positive frames of reference concerning their employees with ASDs, and assisting employers to develop effective, appropriate, and non-discriminatory responses towards their employees with ASDs. 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