Importance: Recent years have seen a shift to strengths-based approaches promoting self-determination and career-related interests among autistic youth. Research is needed to understand the career-related goals set by autistic youth on the basis of their interests.
Objective: To descriptively explore the career design goals set by autistic youth engaged in the self-determined career design model (SDCDM) intervention.
Design: Content analysis was used to analyze the types of goals set by youth during intervention. Two researchers separately reviewed the goal set by each autistic youth (one goal per youth) and determined categories for each goal.
Setting: Preferred community location (usually the youth’s home) in an urban Midwestern city.
Participants: Twenty-one autistic youth.
Outcomes and Measures: Participants set goals as part of the SDCDM, which were recorded using Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS). Researchers used GAS to support each participant in setting a measurable and objective goal and describing criteria for meeting the goal.
Results: Categories included enhancing self-management, obtaining employment, exploring career opportunities, enhancing learning, and enhancing self-advocacy.
Conclusions and Relevance: The findings from this study indicate that autistic youth set goals related to obtaining employment and enhancing generalizable 21st-century skills, such as self-advocacy and self-management.
What This Article Adds: The SDCDM is a tool occupational therapy practitioners can use to support youth in setting and working toward career goals.