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Work-Related Communication Barriers for Individuals with Autism: A Pilot Qualitative Study

  • Michelle McKnight-Lizotte (a1)


This study identified situations where communication was a barrier to employment for adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Informant interviewees were six college graduates with ASD who have been employed for one year. Following the qualitative inductive analysis, five communication-related themes emerged: (1) job interviewing success, (2) negotiating co-worker interactions, (3) supervisory interactions, instruction, and feedback, (4) handling customer intercommunication, and (5) communication-oriented coping strategies. Participants were relatively more successful in communication coping strategies and supervisory interaction compared to difficulties with job interviewing and co-worker interactions. Vocational rehabilitation counsellors assisting clients with ASD should prioritize job interview communication skills and social skill education specific to appropriate interactions with co-workers and supervisors utilizing role play, social skill training, and job coaching.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Michelle McKnight-Lizotte, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education, Utah State University, 2865 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-2865, USA. E-mail:


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  • ISSN: 1323-8922
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