Employment and the Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

III. Implications and Strategies for Employment Success for Individuals with ASD

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Employment success requires the ability to adjust or adapt supports and strategies. In this video a woman with autism shares her perspective on the unique characteristics of autism. Understanding that autism is a lifelong disability that impacts each person’s experience of the world differently and every individual has individualized strengths and challenges.

Youth and young adults with ASD can thrive in the workplace given preparation, opportunity and support. Unfortunately, some students with ASD have been reported to struggle to participate fully and learn in the traditional vocational programs and services that are available. Without accommodations and support to access the program and transition to the workplace, individuals may be unable to participate in the programs. In other situations, the youth may complete the program with less than adequate employability skills resulting in limited employment options.

In some situations, however, the youth may excel in the employment setting during the vocational preparation but find this not to be the case long-term. When transitioning to a newly hired position, some youth have reported decline in work productively and independence. Even the most skilled individual may be challenged with the changes in the work environment, new co-workers, as well as the new job and social expectations. Situations can improve when the educational and vocational support team understands the characteristics of ASD that may require a different approach. Use of specific strategies that target these characteristic areas can improve success in both the preparation programs and on the job.

The following sections will explore the characteristics areas of ASD that should be considered and assessed. Teams may need to help the individual learn specific skills and may also need to provide supports and accommodations to assist the individual with ASD to be successful.

Sensory sensitivities and preferences

Consider the potential impact of the work environment, materials and clothing.

Social and social-communication challenges

Consider the importance of social competency to employment success and how the challenges associated with ASD can create barriers to success in the workplace

Executive functioning differences

Consider the impact of skills such as on organization and attention and the role this can play in job completion

Repetitive behavior and the need for sameness

Routine can be a large part of many jobs while unpredictability is the hallmark of others. Also consider change can be difficult and some individuals may struggle with even minor changes. Consider how this characteristic can both enhance or challenge workplace success.

Within the sub tabs, Implications and Strategies for Employment Success for Individuals with ASD , information about each specific area is provided. Examples of support, accommodations or strategies are offered that can assist the individual to develop a successful work environment.

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