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…
Our children have many hopes, dreams and aspirations for a job that would make them feel fulfilled and happy; however, there is often a disconnect between the dream and actually making it happen. This can occur for a number of reasons – lack of opportunity, no skills or training, lack of experience and unavailability of supports for success. While some…
Teaching independence is a baby steps process that starts at an early age. When working with children with autism on any skill, you have to think it forward. How will this look and function at age 5, 10 or 18? Imagining where you want this person to be as an adult is a good motivator to teach independence skills. It gives a framework to set goals. This post looks at the small, gradual ways you can help your child to build independence.
Temple Grandin, the most famous person in the world with autism, recently had a brain scan done. She has exceptional nonverbal intelligence and spatial memory. Temple’s brain had a host of structural and functional differences compared with the brains of the control group in this comparison study.
Temple was 63 at the time of the brain scan. Her brain volume was found to be significantly larger than that of three neurotypical controls matched on age, sex and handedness. Some children with autism have abnormally large brains, though researchers are still working out how head and brain size changes across development. It was interesting to find that many of Temple’s strengths like memory and visual perception correlate with her brain differences.
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.
What’s your child with Asperger Syndrome going to do for a living?
Too early to start thinking about that? Really, it’s not. While your ten year old or teenager doesn’t have to immediately choose a career, he’s much more likely to find and keep a job when the time comes if you start preparing him in two important ways.