Employment and the Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Overview of Casey's Support Strategies

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Visual Supports for organization, communication and independence

  • Daily visual schedules with pictures and a word or phrase to indicate tasks/activity
  • Activity schedule with pictures to reflect the steps to a new task
  • Checklists
  • Signs and labels throughout the office space to assist in understanding what and where work is accomplished
  • Photos to review new experiences (such as OCALICON) prior to the experience
  • Pictures and names of staff for Casey to review
  • Jig to independently count 25 items and bundle in packs (flyers, CDs, rack cards, etc.)
  • Organized desk area, eliminating clutter and materials not to be used
  • Modeling a task, activity before he is expected to engage

Technology for communication, structure and independence

  • Email to request him to assist or for a social interaction
  • Timers to signal breaks or bring closure to a task and move to a different one. Schedule indicates how long to set the timer so he is independent in tasks and use of timer.
  • Cell Phone to contact his family should there be any concerns when coming to or leaving work
  • Computer for access to information
  • Remote Video ‘Chatting’ for assistance and check-in on his progress during the day

Natural Supports (co-workers) for social success and to problem solve

  • Co-worker assures visual schedule is available to guide Casey through his work tasks
  • Several specific coworkers identified should there be unexpected issues (he is most comfortable knowing who to approach)
  • Co-workers prime and remind when something unexpected may occur, such as a office luncheon or party for a special occasion. Casey is offered the opportunity to ‘check it out’ before others arrive. He can participate at whatever level is comfortable, or not at all.

Social Narratives to develop social competence

  • Social narratives with photos of people and office space to prepare Casey for OCALI
  • Social narratives to explain what a job coach does and how she will support him
  • Visual reminders of social skills expected in the workplace

Reinforcement using interests to build skills

  • Short Breaks where he could watch a cartoon on YouTube, Look at a favorite book on elephants and other favorite animals
  • Requesting a favorite candy from co-workers to promote initiation and social interaction
  • Providing co-workers with information about his interests to facilitate brief social interactions

Sensory Supports to accommodate environmental sensory challenges

  • Access to earbuds and music if needed
  • Small personal fan when office temperature is too warm
  • Individual Work Space
  • Opportunity to pace/walk when needed

Examples of priming tools, visual supports and social narratives used to support Casey.

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