Employment is essential for individuals with intellectual disabilities to achieve independence, financial security, and self-sufficiency — so that they can be active members in the community and achieve a higher quality of life. However, research-based support is lacking for students with autism spectrum disorder and other intellectual disabilities after high school, while existing support programs often face reduced budgets and increased service requests. Unfortunately, only 25% of individuals with intellectual disabilities are employed two years after high school.
Using 3C Institute’s dynamic e-learning platform (DeLP), WORK (Web-based Occupational Resource Kit) is the first self-paced, adaptive job skills intervention designed specifically to meet the learning styles and social and emotional needs of students with intellectual disabilities. With Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, this Phase I project supported initial development of a fully functioning software prototype of WORK, as well as feasibility testing with educators and usability testing with students with intellectual disabilities. Continued research and development in Phase II will demonstrate the effectiveness of this online, interactive learning and practice environment, providing an intuitive and feasible product for educators. WORK strengthens the home-school connection with integrated resources, reports, and easily shared activities, and supports implementation with online professional development tools.