Project SEARCH Replication for Autism

Research Project #2:

A Collaborative Public/Private Employment Training and Placement Model for Transition Age Youth with ASD (Dr. John Kregel, Jennifer McDonough, Dr. Carol Schall)

This project will test the efficacy of two different models of employment and training for young adults with significant support needs through a random clinical trial. Three dependent measures will be investigated: (1) employment status upon completion of the program and then again at 90 days post completion, (2) wage upon completion, and (3) number of hours worked per week upon completion.

News and Events

Program trains young people with autism for jobs

Project Search Graduates

Rates of autism, a developmental disability that shows up as difficulties with communication, social interaction and behavior, have increased significantly in recent years. One of the first signs of autism noticed by parents is a young child's lack of eye contact.

"The U.S. is more interested in autism than in any other disability that I have ever seen in my decades-old career," Wehman said yesterday at a ceremony honoring the students. "What they are learning is the tremendous potential and gifts that many people with autism bring to the table."

Bon Secours, VCU, Henrico County Public Schools and the state departments of Rehabilitative Services and Education are all partners in the job-training effort.

View the video from the Project SEARCH graduation,


Students with autism learn work skills

workers in a hallway

High school senior Ann Marie Chevalier quickly folds baby blankets in the mother-infant unit at St. Mary's Hospital -- and then moves on to her next task. Downstairs in the hospital basement Ben Woolf and Adonis (A.J.) Bullock Jr., also students at Henrico County high schools, assemble and stack plastic tables as one of their work assignments for the day. Chevalier, Woolf and Bullock all have an autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability that shows up as difficulties with communication, social interaction and behavior. The students and three others are spending their last year of high school working at St. Mary's as part of a Virginia Commonwealth University research project looking at work-training models for young people with autism.

Read the Richmond Times Dispatch Article

Related Info:

SLIDESHOW: Working with autism

Autism Statistics:

Prevalence: On average, 1 in 110 children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder. Estimates range from 1 in 80 to 1 in 240.
Gender: Autism is four to five times more common in boys than girls
Communication skills: About 40 percent of children with an autism spectrum disorder do not talk at all.
Diagnosis: About 80 percent of parents notice problems by the time a child is 2.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention