Helping Your Autistic Child Find a Job

People who have been diagnosed with any of the autism spectrum disorders are like everybody else, if they want to live independently then they need a job.  Unfortunately the prospect for finding employment doesn’t look so good for them.  While there  are no comprehensive studies done employment rates for autistic adults who are employed, estimate say the unemployment rate is near 80%.  That’s a staggering statistic.  Combine that with only 12% of autistic adults working fulltime, these are people who are diagnosed as a high functioning autistic.  Patients with more severe forms of autism are even less likely to find a job.

Improving Skills

Social interaction, life skills and specific job training can drastically improve the chances of an autistic adult finding a job.  In the US alone where coaching was made available to autistic you resulted in 87% of the participants finding employment.  While those without any form of coaching or help, less than 10% were able to find employment.

Lack of Resources

In most cases in the US and abroad once an autistic student is finished school they aren’t entitled to any programs that will help them find gainful employment.  They don’t get the help with social skills that allowed them to participate in their school classes.  Judging the number of autistic adults who are capable of holding down a permanent job is difficult to do, most with autism spectrum disorders test at above average intelligence.  However intelligence doesn’t mean that someone is employable.  Things like anxiety often hold them back during the interview process and it affects their ability to communicate even more.  Most adults with high functioning autism are eager to work, getting hired though is another matter.

The Interview

The interview is often the most difficult part of the hiring process.  Many with autism struggle to learn social skills and don’t do things like make eye contact when speaking to an interviewer.  There are now a couple of apps that can actually help with this to a degree they don’t replace social coaching that they actually need.  Things like scripts can help them to remember to make eye contact and learn how to shake hands with a potential employer.  It’s hard to believe that these simple skills are what keeps them from gainful employment and how easy this would be to remedy with some coaching.

As countries like the US, Canada and the UK have gradually moved away from an economy based on production to one that is more service based this has compounded the struggle of autistic adults, even those with autism education.  They tend to be very direct and interacting with customers or attending a team meeting poses a challenge. They don’t indulge in small talk and are often very focused on the tasks they are meant to do.  That same issue often makes them spectacular employees.