Date of Award

2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Computer Science

Abstract

Employment among autistic individuals is an area of noted difficulty, with an employment rate well below the general population [1]. Several barriers attributed to autistic unemployment, including difficulties communicating with employers and social interactions with coworkers, obsessive adherence to routine, and trouble organizing and completing workplace tasks, are also attributed to challenges in maintaining employment [2]. Several studies have concluded that long-term employment support is necessary to acquire and maintain autistic employment [3]. The noted benefit of intensive job training, such as access to job coaches, indicates the need for further support to help autistic individuals complete workplace tasks and maintain employment, as well as employers in their support of autistic employees [4]. Therefore, the development of client-side software that facilitates communication and clarifies workplace duties may be a more long-term, sustainable solution. The object of this research is to develop a workplace e-learning web application designed to support autistic employees and their managers. The Wayfinder application aims to accommodate not only the employee in their day-to-day task management, communication, and independence, but also the manager as they help to actively include autistic employees in their workforce. This research takes place over the course of a year including initial concept, research, and application development. Key screen captures of the prototype application are included with research driven functionality highlighted. References [1]P. Howlin, S. Goode, J. Hutton, and M. Rutter, "Adult outcome for children with autism," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 212-229, Feb. 2004. [2]E. Harmuth, E. Silletta, A. Bailey, T. Adams, C. Beck, and S. P. Barbic, "Barriers and Facilitators to Employment for Adults With Autism: A Scoping Review," Annals of International Occupational Therapy, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 31-40, Apr. 2018. [3]V. Martin and M. Lanovaz, "Program Evaluation of a Community Organization Offering Supported Employment Services for Adults with Autism", 02-Aug-2020. [Online]. Available: psyarxiv.com/6qc9e. [4]D. Hendricks, "Employment and adults with autism spectrum disorders: Challenges and strategies for success," Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 125-134, 2010.

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