The high prevalence of unemployment and underemployment among adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is exacerbated by public misunderstanding of this complex condition. Many individuals with ASD work alongside coworkers and supervisors who are unknowledgeable about the disorder, which promotes the development of misconceptions regarding the individual’s ability to function in the workplace. Despite frequent recommendations both for and against the use of explanatory ASD disclosure in work settings, there is a lack of empirical research directly assessing stakeholder perceptions of such disclosure. The goal of this small sample, exploratory study was to evaluate the implementation of an explanatory disclosure strategy (i.e., the use of an ASD disclosure booklet) on the basis of gathered perceptions from the perspectives of key stakeholders: the client/employee with ASD, the supported employment staff (e.g., case managers, job coaches), and non-ASD coworkers. Research was conducted in collaboration with the supported employment services office of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). Workers with ASD were invited to develop individualized disclosure booklets, which were shared with and evaluated by the key stakeholder groups. Results provide quantitative and qualitative descriptions of perceived benefits and risks of such disclosure. Positive feedback was gathered across three stakeholder groups with regards to the ease of developing booklets, comfort with information shared, and perceived understanding/accuracy of booklet material. Additionally, all groups were able to identify both benefits and risks of sharing booklets in the workplace with perceived benefits outweighing risks.
Genchanok, Anna and Kunce, Linda, "Explanatory Autism Disclosure in the Workplace: Perspectives of Key Stakeholder Groups" (2011). Honors Projects. Paper 144.