Many businesses classify autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as a handicap. Even yet, it can be challenging for adults with autism to find stable, well-paying careers. Autistic individuals are beginning to have more options, though, since more firms are becoming amenable to hiring disability workers. If you are an adult with autism (or you are the parent of an adult with autism), be aware that the hiring process may involve additional hurdles and tests for you than for a neurotypical candidate.
Here are a few things to consider if you are an autistic adult looking for a job that you can turn to for support at various points in the process.
Adults with Autism are Typically Underemployed.
Less than half of adults with autism go to work. Many of them work part-time or in positions for which they are overqualified. Numerous autistic persons also work as helpers or in non-mainstream programs.
The following are some of the main causes for why autistic persons end themselves in these roles:
Few schools, and occasionally even families, anticipate that autistic children will find fulfilling jobs. The only exception is when they possess exceptional abilities. The low expectations for the majority of autistic children, however, might be damaging to their self-confidence.
Challenges and Competition:
Autistic people must apply for jobs in the mainstream population and compete for vacancies. For those who struggle with social communication, that can be challenging. These difficulties can affect how well they perform in interviews for jobs and make it difficult for them to collaborate well with coworkers.
Some autistic individuals also struggle with the physical demands of the profession, particularly if they are hypersensitive to light, noise, and other sensations that they may not be able to regulate in these environments.
Lack of Programs:
Autism was not taken into account in the majority of employment accommodations for adults with disabilities. Instead, they were created to benefit those with physical or intellectual limitations.
Services in Schools Cease at Age 22.
When a disabled person turns 22, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act no longer applies to them (IDEA). Since education is a right, schools are obligated to offer free and suitable education. However, adult services are not rights.
You might or might not be able to receive services as an adult with autism. Regardless of how qualified you are, the service providers might or might not have funding. In reality, though, any person with a severe disability—and autism counts as a significant disability—will be eligible for and get at least some adult assistance.
There Are Few Transition-to-Adulthood Programs.
Until recently, receiving an adult autism diagnosis was unusual. Only autistic people who required the most help were diagnosed for a very long period. Schools were established to instruct severely disadvantaged pupils in life skills and assist them with fundamental job skills.
If they were lucky, these students might find employment in part-time professions that just required a few abilities. As there are more individuals with autism diagnoses, there are more programmes and resources accessible to them as they mature.
Agencies Are Only Now Learning About Autism.
The majority of federal and state governments are just now beginning to comprehend what it entails to assist autistic adults. These organisations, like schools, are accustomed to helping individuals who have intellectual or physical impairments find suitable employment and support—something that autistic people may not necessarily need.
Agencies are working hard to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding population of adults with autism, but they are also constrained by bureaucracy and a lack of funds. As is frequently the case, parents and autistic self-advocates are sometimes responsible for providing information, websites, and legal material to keep the agencies current.
Choices Regarding Employment Should Be Self-Directed.
While some autistic adults are crystal clear about the type of career they desire (or do not want), others are clueless. Adults with autism have the duty and the right to manage their own life, just like everyone else. A person needs to know that the task they are doing fits their interests and capabilities and offers them a feeling of purpose, even if they have poor linguistic skills.
Using instruments like aptitude and vocational tests, school counsellors and agency staff can assist autistic individuals in determining which job route would be the best fit for them. The transition plan for an autistic person can then include their eyesight. Planning for learning, internships, and career prospects are made simpler as a result.
Options for Employment Rely on Skills and Challenges.
The fact that one’s abilities are not always sufficient to obtain and maintain a good job is one of the most difficult truths for an autistic self-advocate or parent of an autistic child to accept. A young autistic adult, for instance, might be a superb scientist, but if they cannot transfer their abilities to a necessary function, there may not be any employment for them.
Adults with autism may face other serious challenges in their quest for employment, such as:
- Social phobia
- severe sensory difficulties
- having trouble taking criticism
- unwillingness to cooperate or share
Adults with autism need to comprehend—and accept, to the best of their abilities—their advantages and disadvantages in the job. An individual can advocate for instruction, internships, and “job sculpting” to enable them to locate the best-fit employment once these characteristics have been recognised.
Hiring an Autism Speaker is a Good Idea.
A skilled autism speaker thrives in motivating audiences with inspirational speeches. For instance, if you want to promote diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in your business, a speaker on autism can inform and inspire your staff to face challenges head-on. A persuasive speaker on autism at work will uplift your audience and persuade your staff to embrace a positive attitude.
Despite what is commonly believed, employing people with autism at work can have genuine positive effects by expanding diversity and bridging skill gaps with a nearly untapped pool of workers when the proper supports are in place.