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Toward developing a simulated workplace laboratory for adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorders

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Author(s): Ronna Fried | Gagan Joshi | Amelia Kotte | Elana Kagan | Joseph Biederman

Journal: Open Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 2161-7325

Volume: 03;
Issue: 03;
Start page: 316;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Workplace | Employment | Autism Spectrum Disorder | Self-Report

ABSTRACT
Objective: Adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HF-ASD) often experience difficulty in sustaining employment, yet little is known about workplace deficits in this population. This study aimed to assess the workplace performance of individuals with HF-ASDs in a previously validated laboratory workplace simulation environment. Method: Seven subjects of both sexes, ages 18 - 21 with a clinical diagnosis of ASD were brought in for a 10- hour workplace simulation, with a series of structured and unstructured tasks designed to elicit DSM-IV Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms and to provide objective measures of workplace performance. Results: HF-ASD participants performed significantly worse than Controls on several tasks throughout the day, particularly in the afternoon. Although HF-ASD subjects did not report elevated symptoms of ADHD, they completed significantly less of the unstructured tasks than Controls. Conclusion: These findings suggest that unstructured work activities and a lack of self-awareness are two primary areas of workplace deficits for individuals with HF-ASD.
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