Over past years, much attention and research has focused on working-aged individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other disabilities. There are reasons to be optimistic that employment for this group can and will continue to improve. These include:
- Expanding knowledge about effective employment supports for workers with ASD
- Growing public understanding and sensitivity
- Tremendous potential of assistive technology
- Growing recognition that even those with significant communication and social barriers can work.
What steps does an individual living with autism spectrum disorder or other disabilities need to take to find a job that matches his or her skill set? There are many services and support groups available.
This section offers basic information and tips about the various stages to finding a job:
- Career Planning
- Benefits and Work Incentives Counseling
- Job Search
- Maintaining the job
- Accommodations and Assistive Technology
Where to Begin Your Job Hunt
There are a few ways that an individual with an ASD can find a job. They can:
- Search for a job on your own.If you prefer to find job at your own pace and feel comfortable to make independent decisions based on research, they are many resources available to help you.
- Find books and computer resources at your local library
- Join a peer support group where you can connect with others, process issues and share information
- Go to a one stop career center. Your local career center can offer you training, referrals, career counseling, job listings and other services to help you find a job that best matches your skill set. Find a Center Near You at CareerOneStop.org (www.careeronestop.org)
- Stop by your local independent living center. These community-based organizations provide services and advocacy for persons with all types of disabilities. Their goal is to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential within their families and communities.Find a Center near you at the Independent Living Research Utilization site.
You can also explore opportunities through your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Community Rehabilitation Providers, or other private vocational services in your area.
Note: Some type of funding will be needed to get professional assistance. If you decide to follow this approach, your career adviser will get to know you at a personal level. The counselor will provide intensive focus, direction, and efficiency during the job finding process.
The following two publications offer detailed information pertaining to employment supports for persons with ASD:
- Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Quality Employment Practices
- Adult Autism & Employment: A Guide for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals
The book, Asperger’s Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide, provides job seekers and professionals with practical techniques and examples addressing all aspects of finding employment and succeeding in the workplace. For more information and to purchase, visit the publisher’s site.