Introduction

Understanding your autistic clients’ needs and work preferences

The aim of the Individual Work Preference Assessment (IWPA) is to gain insight into an autistic jobseekers’ individual work preferences, strengths and working styles.

Understanding your autistic clients’ needs and work preferences

Individual Work Preference Assessment (IWPA)

The aim of the Individual Work Preference Assessment (IWPA) is to gain insight into an autistic jobseekers’ individual work preferences, strengths and working styles.

There are three different versions of this tool:

  • Simple sensory summary
  • IWPA long version
  • IWPA short version

If you observe that the jobseeker is having difficulty completing the longer version (73 questions) there is a shorter and more simplified version (34 questions) that can be used or the simple sensory summary (6 questions).

The process for completing any version of the IWPA is as a means of gaining understanding of an individual and should be complimented by ‘getting to know you’ discussions. There is no right or wrong form to use, and the individual needs to be reassured that there are no right or wrong answers. If questions are hard to answer they can be skipped or contemplated over time.  The aim of the IWPA is as a starting point for eliciting further discussions to understand an individual’s needs and for the autistic individual to feel that their autism is better understood. 

The characteristics inherent in autism vary greatly from person to person, and we recognise that no single form can adequately capture all the unique strengths and needs of an autistic individual. The characteristics discussed in this assessment may not be relevant to every autistic jobseeker. However, even if aspects of the IWPA don’t apply to a particular autistic client, explain that it may be helpful for another employment consultant and/or employer and/or autistic client to understand their needs in the future.

Need more information? There are user manuals for both the long and short versions of the IWPA:

The manual presents common characteristics of autistic people before replicating the statements from the IWPA. Then two groups of suggestions are made: the first explains how to evaluate the responses; the second suggests prompting questions for follow-up discussions.