An abundance of autism support and resources exist for families who have a child younger than age 18 on the spectrum. It can be much more difficult to find the help you need once your child is a legal adult, whether he or she lives in your home or not. Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AAFA), founded in 2008 and also NEXT for Autism, are an excellent resource for families with a person over age 18 on the spectrum.
According to AAFA, more than one million people in the United States have an autism spectrum diagnosis. Approximately 80 percent of autistic individuals are under age 22. This leaves more than 200,000 people who are or who will soon become legal adults without a safety net of autism support available to them and their families.
Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can hold down a job and contribute positively to society with the right amount of autism support available to them. Some cannot, but still need to be as busy and productive as possible. This is something I know well as the parent of a 22-year-old young man with autism.
Can My Young Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Find a Job?
As a parent, you know your son or daughter’s strengths and skills better than anyone. However, it can be challenging to visualize your child in a job setting when you have only observed them at home, school, or a public setting to this point. It is recommended to work with your teenager or young adult child to articulate his or her strengths and skills that could be useful in a work environment.
If you need assistance, request that your child receive a career assessment from a vocational rehabilitation counselor or transition coordinator where he or she goes to school or currently works.
Another thing you can do to prepare your child for the world of employment is to teach and model skills that are important in any job. His or her teachers should do the same. These include:
- Active listening
- Using the most effective forms of communication to be understood by others
- Managing time
- Socially acceptable behavior during lunch or work breaks
- Planning and problem solving
- Self-advocacy skills
Other Resources for Caregivers of Young Adults with ASD
Please contact us for more information and assistance in finding resources available to assist you in navigating through these situations. There are many forms of forms of autism help for families in your situation. Housing and community living and post-secondary education options are just some examples. In addition to finding resources on these topics, feel free to ask me more about the resources we use to help Porter.