How do we prepare an autistic person for the transition to employment? - Autism Awareness

How do we prepare an autistic person for the transition to employment?

The ASD population continues to be chronically underemployed or not employed at all. In 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of persons with a disability were employed, compared with 66.3 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for people with ASD continues to hover at around 80%.

There are several reasons for this statistic:

1.     We don’t start work experience and transition to work planning early enough.
2.     More work is needed on the soft skills such as interacting with people.
3.     Not enough practice time on direct skills such a tasks completion to obtain critical mass.
4.     No knowledge of the hidden curriculum in the workplace.
5.     Executive functioning difficulties.
6.     Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
7.     Not enough support and collaboration from agencies for job seekers.
8.     A lack of suitable training programs.
9.     The person seeking employment does not know enough about themselves.
10.   The person seeking employment does not know what they would like to do.

Having a secure job improves a person’s quality of life, self-esteem, and well-being. It’s a goal to work towards, but how do we break down the transition to employment into manageable steps?

child on bench

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Help the Individual Understand Themselves

Understanding yourself, dreams, and interests can lead to a job.

Charting a Path

A person has to figure out where they want to go in life and what steps can take them there.

  • Help a person create a mission statement about themselves.
  • Discuss the importance of setting goals.
  • Teach how to set personal goals.
  • Teach short and long-term goals and the importance of having both.
  • Use tools to teach time management skills.

Jumping into Action

The next thing to do is teach the individual how to share information about themselves and build their own team that supports attaining their goals.

Finding the Job

This is an exciting part, but also the most challenging – how do you find a job and keep it?

  • Explore what a dream job might look like.
  • Network with the people who do the work you want to do. Teach and practice how to do this.
  • Job shadow people who work in your desired line of work.
  • Find the community resources and agencies that are out there to support employment for those on the autism spectrum.
  • Have employers come and speak about what they value in their employees.

Throughout this post, there are many links to further resources on the points outlined. The resource used for this post was Planning the Transition to Employment.

For further reading on employment, have a look at our Employment section in our bookstore.




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