Finding Work For Those with Autism: Self Employment Success
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 of provincial databases, and companies who are open to the idea of hiring someone with autism. Some people find success breaking out on their own.
Self-employment can be a great way to provide meaningful work to someone with autism who has difficulty coping in a traditional work environment. Brad Fremmerlid, 25, is on the severe end of the spectrum. He can’t read or write, but he can put things together by looking at diagrams. With the help of his parents, Brad launched his own company Made by Brad. Located in Edmonton, Brad is available for hire to put together any project that has blueprints or diagrams.
Through supported self-employment, a business can be created that suits the aptitudes and interests of a person with ASD. A support team can handle the contracts and daily administrative duties, leaving the person with autism to pursue what they love.
Calgarian Kevin Vo is another perfect example of supported employment in action. He makes greeting cards and uses his money to enhance his enjoyment in life. He loves to go out for fries, travel to Disneyland, and uses his income to buy more supplies to make his cards, an activity he loves to do.
Below are three main points to help decide if self employment is the right path.
- Is There Something You Love To Do? Does your adult or youth with autism have something that they love to do? This should be something that they could spend days doing, and have no problems focusing on completing.
- Is There A Need For This Service/Product? Is this a hobby that can be used to make a product, or be a service that could be sold on its own? A person with autism might love putting groceries into bags for instance, but that would be a service better suited to employment, rather than self-employment.
- Is There A Support Network? Do they have the support they would need to help with areas that might be challenging? In particular: executive functioning and social skills. As we all know, there is a broad spectrum of abilities out there, but in the example above even though Brad can’t read or write, he has the support he needs to round out his skill set and have a business.
If you are a person with autism, or are caring for a person with autism, and you can answer yes to those three questions then self employment might be a perfect fit. For an excellent article on how to start a business “aspie style” please click here.
You may also want to have a look at the following resources:
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