ERIC Number: EJ1163972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Special Interest Areas and Employment Skills Programming for Secondary Students with Autism
Bross, Leslie Ann; Travers, Jason C.
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v50 n2 p74-83 Nov-Dec 2017
Many students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have specialized interests and passions that are highly reinforcing. Such special interest areas (SIAs) are more than mere hobbies or simple curiosities. Rather, the SIAs of an individual with autism may be characterized by (a) significant depth and breadth of knowledge about the area, (b) difficulty attending to other important information in the environment due to preoccupation with the area, (c) engagement in prolonged periods of study related to the area, and (d) a strong intensity in focus uncommon for neurotypical peers. Although an SIA may sometimes be perceived as a barrier to learning academic skills, incorporating the interest into transition planning and employment skill training promotes a strengths-based approach. Capitalizing on student SIAs may benefit individuals with ASD while advancing an understanding and acceptance of neuro diverse individuals. This article proposes a a four-step process to provide school-based opportunities aligned with a student's SIA to improve the skills necessary for gainful employment before and after high school graduation.
Descriptors: Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Secondary School Students, Student Interests, Barriers, Student Needs, Skill Development, Career Readiness, Job Skills, Adolescents, Transitional Programs, Individualized Education Programs, Preferences, Needs Assessment, Observation, Scheduling, Individualized Instruction, Planning, Program Evaluation, Program Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A