My current research focuses on the measurement of social cognitive ability in the workplace in transition-age students with Level 1 ASD. More specifically, I'm attempting to validate a construct I call "Social Evaluative Reasoning (SER). SER is defined as context-specific critical thinking involving appraisal of the effectiveness, validity, and appropriateness of employee behavior as it occurs in response to common antecedent conditions in the context of entry-level, service-sector employment.
Proficiency in SER ability may be conceptualized in an Antecedent (A)-Behavior (B)-Consequence (C) formulation. Put simply, within a workplace setting, given (A): some amount of available social information (e.g., a customer’s verbal/nonverbal cues); was (B): a target employee’s behavioral response; (C): appropriate given the situational context of the workplace and the organizing and directing forces it places upon employee behavior? I propose that this is a critical soft skill component that has not been addressed adequately in the ASD literature.
By utilizing an innovative approach to item design (see Figure 1) and an iterative approach to the measurement of the SER construct (see Figure 2), it is my goal to identify different stages of SER ability that may support the vocational development of individuals with Level 1 ASD.