Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 18 Issue 3 (July 2003), Pages 161-226

Assessing preferred work among adults with autism beginning supported jobs: identification of constant and alternating task preferences (pages 161-177)


We evaluated a multiple‐stimulus assessment for identifying work preferences among adults with autism prior to beginning supported jobs. Initially, a prework assessment focused on identifying preferences across different work tasks. Eight preference assessments involving office‐cleaning tasks were conducted with five supported workers. Results of five assessments involving three individuals indicated respective workers had a strong preference for one work task. On three assessments involving three workers and different cleaning tasks, weak preferences for given tasks were identified. Next, choices between more‐ and less‐preferred tasks were provided during the daily job routine. Workers who had a strong preference on the prework assessment consistently chose the previously assessed, more preferred task during the daily job. Workers who had a weak preference always chose the more preferred task on the first choice of the work day, and then alternated between tasks on 71% of subsequent choice opportunities. Results appear to support the utility of the prework, multiple‐stimulus assessment for predicting preferred tasks among supported workers with autism when the assessment identifies strong preferences. Results also offer some support for predicting a preference to alternate tasks when the assessment identifies weak preferences for respective work tasks. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of developing work routines within community jobs for adults with autism that are more in accordance with their work preferences than traditional job placement practices. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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