Resource 5: Case Example for Strategy 3: Self-Advocacy

What does the research say?

Although there have not been systematic evidence reviews that indicate strong themes of “what works,” in one systematic evidence review, job coaching was found to be effective in the short term. The same systematic review identified multiple qualitative studies that suggested job coaching was effective in supporting adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).1

What's an example of this research-informed practice?

Job coaches are paid specialists who assist individuals with disabilities to learn and accurately carry out job duties. A job coach typically provides one-on-one training to the employee. Job coaches can also work with employers to explore unmet business needs so that jobs can be developed or customized. Support (to the employee and employer) in addition to skills training can consist of advocacy, disability awareness building, job adaptations, social support, problem solving, and the development of natural supports to allow the job coach to phase out of direct involvement.2

In the research, Westbrook et al. found that job coaching as part of supported employment was effective in one study and supported finding a job, receiving higher wages, and maintaining a job. Specifically, job coaches can help in task analysis, training on social skills with peers and supervisors, and prompting on social skills.

How can this be adapted to vocational rehabilitation settings?

In many cases, vocational rehabilitation counselors typically refer individuals with autism to job coaches.

Resources Related to Self-Advocacy

These groups promote equality for people with disabilities, share community news, and provide forums for learning and sharing opinions. Following their activities is a great way to learn about self-advocacy and show your support for the community.

1 Westbrook, J., Nye, C., Fong, C., Wan, J., Cortopassi, T., & Martin, F. (2012). Adult employment assistance for persons with autism spectrum disorders: Effects on employment outcomes. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 5. Available for download at

2 Beyer, S., & Robinson, C. (2009). A review of the research literature on supported employment: A report for the cross-Government learning disability employment strategy team. Retrieved from


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