A recent research article published in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, discusses the outcomes of a study involving avail®, a software application designed to support individuals with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving goals related to job readiness, on-the-job work tasks, and independent living. Launched in 2017, avail® was developed with the goal of integrating evidence-based interventions and technology to empower individuals toward independence. This user-friendly application is readily accessible on mobile devices and employs interactive prompts featuring images, videos, audio, and text to aid individuals with disabilities in task performance and goal attainment.
Peckham collaborated with Hung Jen Kuo, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling at Michigan State University, to initiate a pilot study in 2020. The primary objective was to introduce avail® to individuals with disabilities who were employed with the assistance of a job coach. Incompass Michigan played a crucial role in facilitating connections between the research team and other organizations interested in piloting avail® including New Horizons Rehabilitation Services. The pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of avail® with six Peckham team members participating.
The findings of the pilot study suggest that avail® is a viable and potentially promising tool for supporting workers with disabilities. Study participants reported a positive user experience with avail®, noting its helpfulness in improving job performance. Additionally, the results demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in participants’ self-determination. Further details, implications, and recommendations for future research are presented in the article titled “Promoting Disability Employment with avail®: A Pilot Study Assessing Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy,” authored by Hung Jen Kuo of MSU, Sarah George from Peckham, and Janonne Reynolds from New Horizons Rehabilitation Services.