David Thorpe

Project Title: Employment and autistic adults: identifying needs to develop a workplace toolkit

A large percentage of autistic adults are unemployed and of those in employment, many tend to be in part-time employment or low skilled work compared to their education and ability. Autistic adults possess many desirable skills and strengths that can be applied to the workplace. To date much of the work has focused on interventions for the individual, with relatively little focus on the workplace and employer. This project aims to identify how employers can best address autistic employee’s needs in order to have better employment outcomes.

We will identify autistic individuals’ needs, challenges and rewarding aspects of employment, and understand how the employer can support a healthy and productive workplace by addressing these needs, challenges and rewarding aspects via interviews and surveys. We will use these insights to develop a richer understanding of the working experience. From these data, and from a systematic literature review the research will develop and evaluate a workplace toolkit that enables an autistic individual to have a successful work life. The feasibility and acceptability of the toolkit will be evaluated across 20 weeks, as well as assess its impact on performance, health and wellbeing, and job satisfaction.

Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

Field: Psychology

University: Heriot-Watt University

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