Ecosystem Approach to Employment and Autism

Working age individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have the lowest employment rate in Canada at 14.3% in comparison to the general population (92.7%) and other disability groups (45.2%). This significant under-engagement in the labour force demonstrates the need to consider new and innovative approaches to employment to support long-term improved outcomes and overall quality of life.

An ecosystem is described as a network of interconnected parts, and when applied to employment for individuals with autism it considers all the critical intersecting elements: the individual with autism, their family, support agencies, the workplace, the broader community, and supportive public policy – all elements that need to work together to influence, impact and improve employment success.

To read more about the intersecting elements of the employment ecosystem, and how it is applied in the EmploymentWorks Canada program, click on the RESEARCH SNIPPET link below.

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Research Snippet - Ecosystem Approach to Employment and ASD - 03.13.2018 (For Publication)

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Peer Mentor Evolution

Peer mentorship was recognized as an important element in the original design of the Worktopia programs. The concept of using peer mentors who do not have autism to provide support to participants who do, has evolved to include program graduates who have autism.

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Ecosystem Approach to Employment and Autism

Working age individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have the lowest employment rate in Canada at 14.3% in comparison to the general population (92.7%) and other disability groups (45.2%). This significant under-engagement in the labour force demonstrates the need to consider new and innovative approaches to employment to support long-term improved outcomes and overall quality of life.

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The Bigger Picture

In Worktopia, more than 44% of individuals who enrolled in the EmploymentWorks Canada program reported experiencing three or more co-occurring mental health conditions. Challenges posed by these factors may negatively influence employment and engagement in the community.

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