Data presented on the outcomes of ACETS is based on all participants from year one of ACETS.
This instrument was given to the participants prior to their participation in ACETS and then again at the conclusion of the one-year of training and support provided by ACETS.
The first instrument, ACETS Employment Survey, was developed based on the ACES questionnaire (Bryen et al, 1995) and employment-related "hard" and "soft" skills identified from the general employment field especially related to information technology (e.
ACETS participants were given the opportunity to comment on initial findings and to review a draft of this manuscript.
The findings of this study are organized around several different outcomes and possible impacts of ACETS: (a) the degree to which ACETS improved employment-related skills in four areas (Job Hunting, Managing Work with a Disability, Communication Skills, and Information Technology Skills) and (b) online employment development and job search outcomes.
Direct instruction in the use of participants' communication device did not occur during ACETS because a prerequisite for participation in the program was mastery of one's communication system.
Basic computer skills, word processing and e-mail showed no improvement, because they were high at the start of ACETS.
All six participants remained active in the program throughout the year of ACETS, working to expand their job opportunities and job-related skills.
Second, because the authors did not employ a controlled experimental design, it was difficult to truly sort out the "natural" acquisition of skills over time versus the direct impact of ACETS on skill improvement.
As seen from the mean scores on the ACETS Employment Survey, prior to coming to ACETS participants saw themselves as having limited skills in areas that we know are crucial for employment.
With some support from ACETS staff, they were expected to arrange their own transportation for meetings and to hire their own personal assistants.
Lastly, via e-coaching and online follow-up support, ACETS was able to build a community of people who use AAC across the nation who could support and offer technical assistance to each other in their employment efforts.