Supported Employment and Autism Ranking: Limited positive evidence


Supermarket employee Supported employment (also known as supported competitive employment or the supported work model of competitive employment) is a service provided to disadvantaged adults looking to find and retain a job.

It is based on the idea that, with appropriate help, disadvantaged adults can find and retain a job in the competitive marketplace rather than being unemployed or working in a sheltered workshop.

Supported employment programmes share common elements such as:

  • job development, including helping someone find appropriate jobs
  • job placement, including matching someone to an appropriate job
  • job-site training, which involves on-site skill training
  • assessment, which is an ongoing process to determine how the new worker is performing
  • job retention, which involves advocacy and procedures to ensure long-term job maintenance

Supported employment programmes are used to help a wide range of disadvantaged adults, including people on the autism spectrum and people with other disabilities.

Our Opinion

There is a limited amount of low quality research evidence to suggest that supported employment programmes may increase employment rates among some adults with autism.

There is a limited amount of low quality research evidence to suggest that supported employment may improve cognitive functioning and overall quality of life in some adults with autism.

Further large scale, high quality research is required to determine if any factors (such as age, gender, severity of autism symptoms, previous employment experience, and the level and quality of vocational preparation) influence the success of such schemes.


Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions

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01 Feb 2017
Last Review
01 Nov 2013
Next Review
01 Nov 2016