Going the Distance

Using transportation data to inform and support program delivery

Pulling the cord on a bus, hailing a cab, changing platforms at the train station, exiting a traffic circle – these are everyday tasks for some, but for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), they can be significant barriers to gaining meaningful employment and participating in their local communities.

More than 80% of individuals with ASD report being heavily reliant on family and friends to meet their transportation needs.1 Greater independence increases the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families, and individuals with ASD report being motivated to learn transportation skills as a means to achieve greater independence and employment success.2

With transportation issues in mind, Worktopia was curious to take a closer look at the distances individuals and families are travelling to access programs, and is using this information to share ideas about program delivery, community partner recruitment and participant skill development.

To read more about what we are learning from transportation data, and how we are using that knowledge to inform and influence programming, click on the TIDBIT link below.

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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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