Temple Grandin, an internationally known speaker on autism, states that a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can make a successful transition into a job or career. http://www.templegrandin.com
The following are among Grandin’s suggestions:
* Use gradual transitions – Work should be started for short periods while the person is still in school.
* Find supportive employers – Parents and educators need to find employers willing to work with people with ASD.
* Seek mentors – People with ASD, especially those that are higher functioning, need mentors who can be both a special friend and help them learn social skills. The most successful mentors have common interests with the person with autism.
* Educate employers and employees – Both employers and employees need to be educated about ASD so they can support and help the person with autism. They also need to understand an autistic person’s limitations with complex social interactions to help him/her avoid frustrations that could cause the individual to lose his/her job.
* Consider freelance work – Freelance work is often a good option for high-functioning people who have a special skill in computers, music or art.
* Make a portfolio – Similar to the previous point, persons with ASD have to sell their skills instead of their personality, so they should make a portfolio of their work. Since people with autism do not tend to interview well, HR should be avoided. Technical people respect talent, and a person with autism has to sell his or her talent to an employer.
Additional source: Karen Steffan, MS, CRC, who began working with students with autism on a grant project in 2000. This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Job Training & Placement Report. For a free copy of this monthly newsletter for supported employment professionals, visit the “Job Training Professionals” and “Free Trial” links at http://www.impact-publications.com.