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Possibilities for Livelihood: Matters for ASD Adults

The topics of my blogs most often stem from my interactions with clients and real life issues they present with. Within the last year my work has shifted from addressing the needs of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to working to address the needs of adults. A consistent concern among adults with ASD is the lack of service options to assist them in achieving a quality of life that is satisfying and fulfilling. In the next few blog postings, I will discuss the issues pertinent to the adult ASD community. I welcome comments and ideas as it the perspective of ASD Consultancy that person with disability should have access to achieve their fullest potential; bringing a voice to their concerns is my way of helping to aid in that pursuit.

In this blog I bring voice to the issue of employment among ASD adults. Considering the current economic difficulty of the times, unemployment has become increasingly concerning to the masses. Currently, it is estimated that the unemployment rates of the general population ranges between 9-15%. Unemployment in the disability community has been an ongoing concern wherein rates of unemployment for the ASD population are estimated to range from 80-90%. These devastating rates highlight the need for increased service options that better assist adults with an ASD in achieving gainful employment. It also highlights the need for increased understanding of what skills are needed to support an ASD person in gaining and maintaining employment.

As we explore the opportunities for successful employment from the vantage point of a person with an ASD, we must consider the need for compatibility between the skills of the individual and requirements of an employer. This may seem like an obvious requirement however it is critical for an ASD individual as the differences between skills and requirements can too difficult to ignore. In assessing the skills of an ASD individual, the Disability Policy and Studies of Health and Professions at the University of Missouri (2009) notes that it is important to consider the following:

  • Learning style preference

  • Sensory sensitivities

  • Sensory attractions/preferences

  • Topics of fixation

  • Communication skills and support needed

  • Communication preferences

  • Social skills and support needed

  • Physical skills, abilities, or challenges

  • Cognitive skills, abilities or challenges

  • Sources of anxiety or concern to the person

  • Triggers for challenging behavior and effective response

  • Hand –eye coordination

  • Assistive technology needs

  • Transpiration needs and existing community supports

Determining the ASD individual’s capacity in each of these areas can then be used to strengthen areas of deficit and selecting job leads that are most consistent with the individual’s skills.

It is also dually important that the needs of the employer and options for accommodations be explored when determining the suitability for a job placement. It is important to explore employment opportunities with employers that openly work to accommodate ASD. Jobs4autism.com is an online forum dedicated to helping people with an ASD find employment, provides options for employers to post job opening and provides a forum for users to share successful and unsuccessful job experiences. Pursuit of employment should begin when the individual’s skills and employers needs are similar in order to ensure success. Having the support of an ASD professional can be helpful in aiding a person with ASD in the assessment, application, and interview and employment process. For more information of Autism Services please contact Monique Lewis, M.S, Marital Family Therapist employed by ASD Consultancy. You can contact Monique at monique@asdconsultancy.com or (562)833-6900. For more help visit www.asdhelp.com

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