Consistent with the philosophy of the TEACCH program, the mission of the Supported Employment Program is to provide a stable and predictable work environment whereby the individual with ASD Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can, as independently as possible, be a contributing member of the work force. This contribution allows the individual with ASD to increase their sense of self-worth, and at the same time, helps to increase awareness and educate the public about ASD.
The primary goal of the TEACCH Program is to prepare people with ASD to work and live happily and productively throughout all facets of their life. Special emphasis is placed on developing individualized plans to help the individual with ASD and their families live together more harmoniously. As individuals with ASD grow into adolescence and adulthood, a priority becomes developing skills relevant to their abilities and interests that allow them to successfully participate in a vocational setting. Supported Employment Staff are trained in the TEACCH model with an emphasis on collaboration with clients, families, and agencies. This emphasis encompasses a thorough understanding of the culture of ASD, the unique characteristics of the individual, as well as ongoing assessments, structured teaching techniques, and the development of the client's strengths and interests. The individuals with ASD and their family members are integral participants throughout the process.
In an effort to provide the most appropriate and individualized vocational program, TEACCH utilizes four different models of Supported Employment: the standard placement model, the shared support model, the mobile crew model, and the one-to-one model.
Within each of these models, an emphasis is placed on the individual’s strengths and interests, identifying appropriate job and vocational settings, applying structured teaching techniques, collaborating with families, caregivers and employers, and providing the necessary long-term support services.
TEACCH staff rely on several key factors in the selection of appropriate job and vocational settings:
• jobs that are predictable and have potential for clearly defined work tasks
• jobs which can be adapted to the individual's need for structure
• jobs where there is the potential to utilize the individual’s strengths and interests
• Vocational settings where the employers and coworkers are receptive to training and who are willing to create an environment where an
individual is most likely to succeed.
One of the most important factors contributing to the success of TEACCH's Supported Employment Program is its emphasis on long-term support services, which provide ongoing assessment and training of the employee at the job site as well as support for the employer. The vocational, residential, and social aspects of the individual with ASD’s life are complexly intertwined. As part of long-term support services, the TEACCH Supported Employment staff is involved with the coordination of support in these areas to help with the consistency and predictability that the individual with ASD needs to maintain employment. Other facets of long-term support include assistance to the family/caregiver with government benefits, which can be affected by work, consultation with supported living services, and social and community skills training through individual and group counseling/activities.