Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Advisor/Committee Chair

Kimberly Colvin


It is well-documented in the literature that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulty transitioning from school to the workforce. This group experiences challenges adjusting to the expectations of the workforce and a high unemployment rate is reported among adults with ASD. There are several notable barriers that inhibit adults with ASD from achieving gainful employment: inadequate preparation for the demands of the workforce, especially along vocational and social skill domains, are likely impacting this issue. Deficits in social skills and communication are reported as key factors that contribute to low employment and low employment skill retention among individuals with ASD. There is a need for school-based transitional programming to address both social and vocational skill deficits in order to adequately prepare students with ASD for success in the workforce, before they leave school. Transitional programming needs to address the challenges with skill generalization and retention that is often reported in this population and poses an additional barrier to the success of such programs. Research supports the efficacy of a combination of several program aspects, including supported employment programs, to meet the unique needs of this demographic and facilitate improvements in the various areas of deficit that impact employment. Directions for future research are discussed, including research into effective methods or combinations of methods to provide support through school-based programming.