Employment and the Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Resources for ASD Characteristics and Implications to Employment Success

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To navigate the most common characteristics of individuals with Autism. Select key characteristic buttons or by scrolling through the page. Each section offers additional resources and strategies when considering the specific characteristics of individuals with Autism and the importance to consider all characteristics prior to working. Review resources that help discuss the importance and success of early planning for employment in any position.


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Carly’s Cafe- Experience Autism through Carly’s Eyes
This experience is viewed through the eyes of Carly Fleischmann, a 17-year- old girl living with nonverbal Autism. Based on an excerpt from the book Carly's Voice: Breaking through Autism, it explores how, for someone with autism, a simple act like going for a coffee can descend into chaos. Carly's Café was developed as an interactive video that allows the user to experience Autism from the inside-out, visit carlyscafe.com to enjoy the full experience.

Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers resources to assist the employer to better understand and accommodate employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders. JAN also provides information about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Resources include: Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Employees with Executive Functioning Deficits, Effective Accommodation Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Interviewing Tips for Applicants with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Environmental Demands Rating Worksheet
The checklist will assist transition youth and teams rate various environmental demands and help youth identify tolerance levels. Additional resources for dealing with Environmental Demands Making productive workspace.

F.I.T for Success on the Job!
Creating successful employment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Five Important Targets for Success on the Job. Sensory, Communication, Activity or Task, Routine, and Predictability, Social (SCARS) are aspects to consider when finding the ideal work/learning environment.

How to make sensory breaks work in the classroom
Video and news article- Although the information in video considers the home or school environment, Alescia show how using a variety of sensory modalities can be incorporated throughout the day.

Indiana University of Indiana
Three articles around the topic of sensory processing including: Look into my Eyes, Sensory Integration: Tips to consider, and Should we insist on eye contact with people who have autism spectrum disorders.

Relaxing YouTube video
Guide you through a 15-minute deep breathing exercise.

Seeing double, understanding autism- Sensory overload in the workplace
A news article describing a day in the office

Supporting Transition Youth and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Building Awareness, Using Tools and Accessing Resources PowerPoint Presentation created from collaboration from OCALI Lifespan Transition Center, Autism Center, and Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
Review the key components of what sensory processing is and how information is taken in through all six senses.

Temple Grandin on Sensory Sensitivity
Short video clip giving multiple examples of sensory sensitivities in a variety of settings

Temple Grandin- The movie trailer
Biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who overcame the limitations imposed on her by her condition to become an expert in the field of animal husbandry. Check out the movie form OCALI Lending Library.

The Do2Learn JobTIPS
The website offers ideas and resources to assist the individual with ASD, the employer, and support staff on the job. These resources include the Environmental Demands Rating Worksheet and Dealing with Environmental Demands.

The Mighty: Employer Article
Sensory article for employers about sensory processing -ten things to know: 10 Things I Wish My Employer Understood About Sensory Processing Disorder

The Mighty: Sensory Article
My Life as a Grown-Up 'Fiddler' With Sensory Processing Disorder by Kate Sinclair

The Party: a virtual experience of autism- 360 film shows all points
Everyday situations can be stressful for those on the autism spectrum. Step into the shoes of 16-year-old Layla as she attends a birthday party. Hear her inner thoughts and experience how overwhelming an occasion like this can be for her. Brief cursing is a part of the video clip, “what the hell”.

Tommy Hilfiger Clothing
Consider a variety of clothes that match preferred comfort.

Communication and Socialization

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ASD strategies in Action
Social Narrative “Write it Out, Draw it Out” in ASD strategies in Action offers three free video clips on different strategies for interacting with others in a variety of settings.

Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM)
Augmentative and alternative communication module and assessment
Designed to provide high-quality information and professional development on assistive technology (AT) for educators, professionals, families, persons with disabilities, and others. ATIM modules are available at no cost. Each module guides you through case studies, instructional videos, pre- and post-assessments, a glossary, and much more. Create a free account today.

Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) Modules
Designed to help you learn the step-by-step process of planning for, using, and monitoring an EBP with learners with ASD from birth to 22 years of age. Supplemental materials and handouts are available for download in variety of module content including: modeling, scripting, social narrative, social skills training, and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

Four YouTube video on video modeling social scenarios
Youtube Playlist videos selected by Starr Dobush covering four video modeling videos for social interactions.

Hidden Curriculum DVD- Teaching what is meaningful, by Brenda Smith- Myles.
Be equipped with practical suggestions from professionals in the field of hidden curriculum and instruction to young adults on the spectrum. Reflects on the serious consequences for not following social norms and violating other’s boundaries, also provides strategies for interactions with others.

Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigate the Social Landscape of Employment, by Brenda Smith- Myles, Judy Endow, and Malcolm Mayfield.
This practical and easy-to-use book provides necessary yet often untaught information on a variety of topics related to getting a job, finding a mentor, networking, using agencies, interviewing, talking with supervisors, dealing with on-the-job-frustrations, understanding the social rules at work and many other topics.

How Can I Be A Self- Advocate?
This module provided by Ohio Employment First Job Seekers Guide offers a tutorial on how an individual can effectively direct his own future planning. Helpful tips and links are offered throughout the module.

How Nurses Can Support Children With Autism During Medical Visits
Children with autism are more likely to experience distress during a medical visit. To help these individuals, nursing and other healthcare providers can support children with autism by utilizing the tips and guidelines in this article.

Indiana University of Bloomington
Writing and Using Social Narratives in All Environments contributed by Kristie Brown Lofland
The article pulls out key aspects of social narratives as well as additional resources for creating social narratives.

JAN- Communication Tips
Beginning tips for communicate with others with intellectual disabilities so pointers to try and also think about multiple ways for those with communication to show they understand new concepts by showing or demonstrating a new task, as well as not expecting eye contact when giving new information to individuals.

Individuals with ASD frequently need supports to identify the "hidden curriculum" and remember the social norms of the employment environment. Do2Learn has created a JobTIPS website that offers many printable visual reminders of how to navigate the social environment at work as well as videos that demonstrate some of these skills.

Social Narrative
National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders OCALI AIM PDF

Social Narrative Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Module (AFIRM)
Social narratives (SN) describe social situations for learners by providing relevant cues, explanation of the feelings and thoughts of others, and descriptions of appropriate behavior expectations.

Take 5- Google Calendar
Schedule personal time for self, friends as well as view when co-workers are busy and when they are free to talk.

Take 5- Google Hangout
Break down barriers that interfere with independence by completing a task using Google Hangout to support work tasks throughout the day. With both visual auditory and picture examples of how to complete tasks, Google Hangout provides supports needed to be in charge of one’s environment. This is a great App for positive post school outcome teams to consider.

What Works For Work
Video Modeling
Explore the different perspectives used in video modeling and how task analysis can be used in conjunction with video modeling to support task completion.

YouTube: Asperger Syndrome Advice: What I Wish I Knew About Social Cues
Short video. No audio description. A young man on the Autism Spectrum gives advice on how to communicate with others and reflect on key tips to communicate with others.

YouTube: How to talk to people without being awkward: 3 quick tips
Short video. No audio description. Video offers three unique tips to use when meeting new people or improve relationships you have with others from the producers Peak Your Mind.

YouTube: Understanding Autism - Hidden Curriculum (Video clip 1.2)
Short video. No Audio description. Hidden Curriculum is described in multiple settings. A segment from Understanding Autism: Professional Development Curriculum - A Guide for Secondary School Teachers produced by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA).

YouTube: How to Read Social Cues
No Audio description. Short Video explaining the key steps for reading social cues. Pay close attention to nonverbal communication: learning how to interpret gestures is critical to understanding the meanings behind human interactions.

YouTube: What Are Soft Skills?
Short video. No Audio description. Soft Skills’ is a catch-all term referring to various behaviors that help people work and socialize well with others. In short, they are the good manners and personality traits needed to get along with others and build positive relationships.

YouTube: What is PEER GROUP? What does PEER GROUP mean? PEER GROUP
Adult content. No audio description. Peer group meaning, definition & explanation are explored in a short video. Key aspects to what a peer group is an importance of having them in different groups of people in all phases of life.

Executive Function and Organization

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Many people, both on the job and at home, are finding apps for smartphones or tablets to help make their jobs or tasks easier or more enjoyable. Individuals with ASD often find that organizing, remembering when and what to do, prioritizing, and remaining focused on job tasks is one of the most difficult aspects of their employment. To help with personal or professional organization, review these Apps for Postsecondary Goals created by a collaborative team at OCALI to assist transition teams planning for greater support and access for independence for community membership, adult learning, and community employment.

At a Glance: 7 Ways to Teach Your High-Schooler Organization Skills
By Amanda Morin
As teens become more independent, learning to organize and prioritize in all aspects of their lives is important to their future success in college or the workplace. Here are ways practitioners can help. For middle schoolers as well.

Free Printable Calendars by Scattered Squirrel
Calendar template for individuals, and family. Help organize your day, week, month, and year.

Getting Things Done - How to Get MASSIVE Loads of Work Done EVERY DAY
A short video with no audio description. Most of us have a hard time getting things done. In this video, I'll be sharing with you exactly how I manage to do 8 hours of work consistently without procrastinating. The secret of how to get things done lies in the way you create your to-do list!

Graphic Organizers
Introduces some common graphic organizer types categorized according to the functions such as reading, writing, math, or vocabulary study. Get to know graphic organizers through every single type. You will learn how they look like and what are they used for from the given examples. Each graphic organizer you see on this page can be downloaded.

Take 5: Google Calendar
Google Calendar can optimize your daily, weekly, and monthly priorities and goals. Google Calendar assists students with goal making and task preparedness as they use backwards planning for positive post-school outcomes.

Tools and solutions to help teens with organization Issues
By The Understood Team
An article has video and tips for organizing bookbags as well as locker at school or work.

What Works For Work
Visual Supports
Discover the different ways that visual supports can be used for communication, organization, task completion and preparing for new situations.

Work Clean: The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work, and mind by Dan Charnas
The first organizational book inspired by the culinary world, taking mise-en-place outside the kitchen. Tips and strategies for task scheduling in a calendar- to do list that break down a task, steps and tools needed, as well as time break down or timeline. Book also offers an Apple iOS app.

A short video with no audio description to help organize your workspace for functionality and inspiration.

YouTube: Executive Function: Brain's Control Center
A short video with no audio description breaking down the ideas and concepts of executive functioning in three components: Working memory, Inhibitory control, and Cognitive flexibility.

Repetitive Behavior and Routines Resources

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3 Tips To Help With Transition - How To Deal With Change
A short video with no audio description. Learn how to handle and deal with changes that occur in life, relationships, and the workplace.

Autism Internet Modules (AIM)
Rules and Routines
This module provides participants with strategies for creating and implementing effective rules and routines. Rules and routines are the central features of environments that prepare children for upcoming opportunities by reducing stress and increasing predictability.

College Internship Program- CIP
Knowledgeable information for work experiences and internship while covering postsecondary planning in college, employment, and independent living.

How to Create a New Habit: Note From Future Self
Having trouble creating a new habit? Future Jessica travels back in time to warn me of how MY new habit goes terribly, terribly wrong -- but it doesn't HAVE to.

How to mentally prepare yourself to give the performance of your life
New article by Forbes Contributors-Amy Morin
An article gives strategies to do when under pressure in any job setting.

Judy Endow on PBS
A short video with no audio description. Routine helps limit difficult behaviors for all individual with autism.

The top five apps for staying positive and productive by Richard Lorenzen
List apps that are great from keeping a positive mentality (indispensable for any entrepreneur) and making sure you are focused and on-task.

Robbins Research International, Inc.
How should I start each day? What’s Priming?
Discover the science of priming, and how your state affects other aspects of your life.

YouTube: Autism ACTUALLY Speaking: Coping With Change
A short video with no audio description. Highlighting tips for managing change from the perspective of an individual with autism.

YouTube: How to Rebuild Your Routines When Everything Changes
A short video with no audio description. Short Routines are super helpful for ADHD brains, when brains get disrupted it can throw everything off. Here’s how to rebuild your routines when life changes!

“The Right Fit” and Case Studies

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13 Ways to be a Better Co- Worker by, George Miata
Article found in Readers Digest gives quick 13 tips to interact with co-workers in any job.

5 Effortless ways to be More Inclusive (And known as the best coworker ever) by Lily Herman
Article found on The Muse website and also gives tips for networking with new employees regardless of where you work.

Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes by: Therese Willkomm
Visit the OCALI Lending library and reserve this great resource using ordinary items to make extraordinary solutions, workbook and DVD gives many examples in five minutes or less and low- cost approaches for taking ordinary items and turning them into extraordinary solutions for individuals with disabilities.

Autism Speaks Advocacy Tool Kit
The Advocacy Tool Kit offers basic information about advocacy and negotiation skills for different situations and demonstrates how to apply these skills throughout the lifespan of an individual with autism.

Autism Speaks: Employment Tool Kit
Autism Speaks has put together a kit to help transition teams find further research on finding and keeping employment. Have also compiled job-related stories, tips and information form a collaboration of people, including adults with autism.

Customized Employment and Job Development- Video
This video provides a brief overview of customized employment (CE) and describes how it differs from the traditional job market approach where an individual competes for a job with others through an application process.

Customized Employment (CE)
Customized employment (CE) is based on utilizing the individual’s strengths and preferences while selecting employment that can provide the conditions under which the person most successfully performs.

Factsheet: Supporting Individuals with Autism in Integrated Community Jobs: Identify Support Needs to Facilitate Success From Virginia Commonwealth University
Employment specialist article describing key points to employment strategies as well as considerations for employment.

Food for Good Thought Vocational Program
This Ohio-based program is a vocational rehabilitation and supported employment facility that works solely with individuals with ASD to provide job development, job training, and job supports. Services are provided in an on-site gluten-free bakery that is part of the program, as well as and other off-site locations.

Hire Autism: The Sandy Lankler Jobs Portal
Lists local employment opportunities and offers workplace resources for individuals on the spectrum. Hire Autism aims to provide job-seekers with meaningful employment opportunities commensurate with their skills.

Internet Modules to Guide Employment Preparation and Success
The Autism Internet Modules (AIM) offers free web-based modules after creating an account, that provides specific information about employment of an individual with ASD.
Preparing Individuals for Employment: This module explains strategies to support persons with autism in the transition process from school to employment.
The Employee with Autism: This module provides a basic introduction to autism for vocational rehabilitation staff and others providing disability employment services. It covers the basic features of autism in adults that are relevant to the workplace and to the provision of employment services.

**Lettuce Work Foundation
The Lettuce Work Foundation is an Ohio-based non-profit established to serve young adults with ASD and training them for the future. Lettuce Work specializes in growing produce that is sold and delivered to local schools, hospitals, supermarkets, and restaurants and uses the revenue to support the program services. This program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Developmental Disabilities, a private specialized school-age program, and private contributors.

OCALI Transition and CE Webcasts
OCALI offers free archived webcasts on a variety of topics related to preparing for and maintaining employment for individuals with ASD. Several webcasts focus specifically on customized employment.

Project SEARCH
A collaborative public-private employment training and placement model for transition-age youth with ASD developed and implemented by the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence.
Link to General Project Search Site
Link to VCU program

Secondary Transition Resources for Students with ASD
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) has identified resources and frameworks that have shown to assist individuals with autism navigate to the world of competitive employment.

Task Analysis for Job Coaches- Employment First
One hour webinar giving highlights and key tips for Job Coaches to implement for community integrated employment through task analysis

The Art of Job Coaching Dr. Peter Gerhardt
Webcast discusses the art of job coaching and the qualities one should possess to be an effective job coach for an employee with an autism spectrum disorder.

“The Right Fit”
Using the “Right Fit” Discussion Guide could help a person and the team identify the existing features that are a good match for the individual’s work style as well as what aspects of the workplace would need adapting. Download The Right Fit: A Discussion Guide here.

VCU Autism Center of Excellence
Virginia Commonwealth University offers free webcast, seminars, tools, resources, on a variety of employment topics.

**Reference to any programs or agencies is included for your information and does not indicate an endorsement from OCALI.

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