About the Survey
The Autism & Employment Experiences Survey is an autistic-led research project. There are two goals for this survey:
- Gather more comprehensive data about the kinds of experiences autistic people are having in looking for and maintaining employment
- Evaluate the efforts autism employment programs are making to improve those experiences
The survey will be open until December 15, 2019. Preliminary results will (tentatively) be shared via articles in early 2020.
Follow-up from the survey will include semi-structured interviews with autistic people to learn more about their experiences. The goal of both the interviews and the survey is to gather more nuanced and detailed information about the challenges autistic people face when they apply for a job, as well as what kinds of changes or accommodations are most helpful in a workplace. Additionally, the survey asks questions about autism employment programs, in order to identify patterns in the types of training they provide and how well they are supporting autistic people in finding and keeping jobs.
Both the survey and the interviews are part of a long-term project to write a book about autism, employment, and the Autism at Work movement. The first half of the book will describe the current state of autism employment (and autism employment programs) - including who is being served by programs, in what capacity, and with what kind of results - and will talk about the experiences of the majority of employed autistic people, who have not participated in formal autism employment programs. This section will also review existing research and literature on autism and competitive/community-based employment, and put current autism employment programs in the context of a longstanding pattern of programs that seek to increase the employment of disabled people. The second half of the book will use findings from the survey and interviews to make specific, concrete suggestions that employers can use to improve existing autism employment programs or use as a starting point in creating one.
Here are the research questions that I had in mind as I created the survey:
- What are the barriers/challenges that autistic people face in finding and keeping jobs? Do some challenges correlate with particular demographics among autistic people?
- What factors or adjustments help autistic people find and keep jobs, and feel satisfied with their employment situation? Do some factors correlate with particular demographics among autistic people?
- What types of skills/information are taught in autism employment programs? Is some material more strongly correlated with positive outcomes and/or opinions of programs
- What opinions do autistic people have about current autism employment programs? Do they differ from the opinions neurotypical and/or non-autistic people have about autism employment programs?
- What changes (if any) do autistic people want to see made to autism employment programs?