Meanings of Autism, Meanings of Work

Learn more about participating in this judgement-free study.

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Project contact information

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  • Call or text: ‪(616) 287-0336

About the project

We are doing a research study about Autism and work. We want to learn about the views of Autistic and non-Autistic people on work. We want to learn what it’s like, as an Autistic person, to work or look for work.

People have lots of ideas about what Autism means and what work means. The aim of this study is to learn how Autistic and non-Autistic people involved in work spaces in mid-Michigan use everyday meanings of Autism in the important everyday spaces of work. The specific research questions are:

  1. What ideas about Autism do Autistic and non-Autistic people engaged in work-related spaces express?
  2. What ideas about work do Autistic and non-Autistic people engaged in work-related spaces express?
  3. How do Autistic and non-Autistic people navigate shared spaces of work?
  4. How do meanings of Autism inform the work experiences of Autistic and non-Autistic people?

This study is funded in part by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research through a post-Ph.D. grant called "Meanings of Autism and work: Autistic and non-Autistic people navigating shared spaces and conflicting conceptualizations.”

This webpage has a lot of details about the study and ways you can learn more and get involved.

Study documents

Current consent forms are available by request. Links are PDFs that will open in a new window.

About the researchers

Ariel Cascio (they/she)

Ariel Cascio

Ariel leads this study. They are an anthropologist and professor at Michigan State University. They are not a medical doctor. They are non-Autistic. They want to do this study because many autistic people they met in other research studies had worries about work. You can read their writings about these studies at Their hobbies include playing board games, reading science fiction, and indoor rock climbing.

Jacob Krehbiel (he/him)

Jacob Krehbiel

Jacob is a research assistant. He is employed by Michigan State University. He is not a medical professor. He has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Technical Communication from Ferris State University. He is Autistic. His goal in life is to help other Autistic individuals. His hobbies include watching movies and discussing them.

Nadine Shetiah (she/her)

Nadine is a research assistant. She is a student at Michigan State University. She wants to be a part of this study because she wants to help Autistic people. Her goal is to help by learning more about what can help Autistic people succeed.