Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Psychiatric Disorders and Other Disabilities. E. Supported Employment


SE can be described as a form of competitive employment in which rapid job search and placement is followed by intensive on-the-job support provided to an individual with a disability for a certain period, followed by extended services to support job maintenance. It is distinguished from SE for people with mental health disabilities (described in Chapter II) because: (a) it does not necessarily integrate mental health service providers into the support team; and (b) a specific model of SE has not been rigorously tested with people with other disabilities. SE is distinguished from DM in part through the populations served: people with severe intellectual and other developmental disabilities, SMI, or others with limited or no work record, versus workers who acquire a disability, have a work record, and wish to continue working. Another distinguishing factor is the strong evidence base for a specific SE model for people with SMI, versus lack of evidence and a universally accepted model for DM. A third factor is that SE typically does not include a medical component, although SE for people with SMI does include a mental health professional on the team.

We identified two systematic reviews of SE or VR interventions for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Lounds-Taylor et al. 2012; Westbrook et al. 2012.). The authors of these studies summarized findings from five studies on young adults (ages 13-30) with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Overall, both sets of authors reported that on-the-job supports were associated with increased employment outcomes for persons with ASD and other developmental disabilities, but evidence was limited for on-the-job supports for individuals with ASD. Thus, the results do not support reliable conclusions about the effectiveness of employment services for adults with ASD.

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