Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 3377–3392 | Cite as

Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Autism-Specific Workplace Tool for Employers: A Randomised Controlled Trial

  • Melissa Scott
  • Marita Falkmer
  • Torbjörn Falkmer
  • Sonya Girdler
Original Paper


A randomised controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of the Integrated Employment Success Tool (IEST™) in improving employers’ self-efficacy in modifying the workplace for individuals on the autism spectrum. Employers (N = 84) were randomised to the IEST™ or support as usual groups. Measurements of self-efficacy, knowledge and attitudes towards disability in the workplace were obtained at baseline and post-test. Results revealed a significant improvement in self-efficacy within the IEST™ group between baseline and post-test (p = 0.016). At post-test, there were no significant differences between groups in relation to self-efficacy in implementing autism-specific workplace modifications and employer attitudes towards disability in the workplace. Given the lack of significant outcomes, further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the IEST™ for employers. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry #ACTRN12614000771651, registered 21/7/2014. Trial URL


Autism spectrum disorder Complex intervention Hiring Vocational support Work environment 



A special mention and thank you to Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, who inspired the development of the IEST™. Her passion and commitment to creating a more inclusive community in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum guided this study. Thank you to all the participants and organisations who participated. Our sincere thanks go to AIM Employment of the Autism Association of Western Australia, Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), Autism Queensland and the Australian Network on Disability (AND) for their ongoing assistance with participant recruitment. Thank you to Mary-Ann Spearing for all her hard work and dedication in recruitment and management of participants in this study.

Author Contribution

Authors MS, SG, TF and MF contributed to design of the trial. MS acquired the data. MS and TF analysed and interpreted the data. MS drafted the manuscript. MS, MF, TF and SG revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program. The authors acknowledge the financial support of Curtin University to Melissa Scott through the Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10803_2018_3611_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (177 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 176 KB)
10803_2018_3611_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (845 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 844 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Occupational Therapy and Social WorkCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC)BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Education and Communication, CHILD Programme, Institute of Disability ResearchJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  4. 4.Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Medicine and Health Science (IMH)Linköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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