Many adults with autism have difficulty being accepted in, and carving a niche in the working world. While they may have troubles communicating verbally, they might still be able to, and want to contribute in a meaningful way through work. While most provinces in Canada have programs available to help those with autism find work, and there is a growing number…
My children, Marc and Julia, have been involved in their first work experience this summer. They finished their final shift of four at the Famer’s Market yesterday. What a great learning experience this has been for the kids. Their work environment was a supportive one, surrounded by people they knew through my figure skating club. Volunteering gave them a chance to see what working was like, presented them with challenges and gave them opportunities for personal growth.
In my June 1st blog post, I wrote about volunteering as a way of introducing the world of work to people with ASD. My two children, Marc and Julia, were going to start volunteering at a local Farmer’s Market organized by my figure skating group once a week in July. We had our first 3 hour shift yesterday and I am happy to report that it went very well.
I’d like to share what made this a successful experience for Marc and Julia.
As our folks on the autism spectrum age, we begin to wonder what will the future look like for them. How will they support themselves? Will they find meaningful and rewarding work? Entering into the work force can be a tricky business and one that needs some preparation. I think there is no better way to introduce the world of work than through volunteering.
Volunteering can happen before a person is ready for paying work. It’s a great way to try a variety of different jobs without being tied into a contract. There is not the same pressure as paid work, yet there are expectations. The volunteer experience can introduce them to a community they may not have known and in turn, an extra support network can be created. Skills important for job success such as patience, conversation skills, customer service, answering the telephone, computer skills, perserverence and problem solving can be practiced. If the volunteer work is for a particular event, they can be part of the planning process and see their work come to fruition at the event.