Psychometric evaluation of an Australian version of the Vocational Index for Adults with Autism

Published April 2020
Abstract
Despite the urgent need to improve employment and other vocational outcomes of autistic people, there are few instruments that measure the range of vocational independence demonstrated by these individuals. The Vocational Index for Adults with Autism (VIAA) is an instrument that identifies the common vocational activities that autistic people engage in following high school. There is a need, however, for researchers to examine the usefulness of the instrument and its applicability in countries outside the United States. The goal of this study was to evaluate a modified version of the VIAA (M-VIAA) in a group of autistic people from Australia. We examined responses to the M-VIAA in 211 autistic and non-autistic young adults. We compared the M-VIAA with participant's daily living skills and level of autistic traits, as well as any change in scores over time. Vocational independence was higher in non-autistic participants than in autistic participants. Vocational independence was not related to daily living skills; however, it was related to autistic traits. Over 2 years, scores on the M-VIAA did not change a lot for the autistic participants. Our study provides some initial support for the M-VIAA in a non-US-based population. However, we also identified that the instrument may not represent the full range of challenges nor the richness of vocational activities experienced by autistic individuals in postsecondary vocational settings. Our study provides preliminary support for the Australian version of the VIAA but suggests that it could be improved to better reflect the richness and range of vocational challenges experienced by autistic people. Our findings therefore identify areas for improvement for assessing the vocational activities and independence of autistic people.
Citation
Sahin, E., Bury, S., Flower, R.L., Lawson, L.P., Richdale, A.L., & Hedley, D. (2020). Psychometric evaluation of an Australian version of the Vocational Index for Adults with Autism. Autism in Adulthood, early online. doi: 10.1089/aut.2019.0060

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