This was another one that I had some difficulty with in terms of figuring out what to post, but it’s another issue that’s relevant for when your child with autism becomes an adult with autism. So for our next letter in the Autism A to Z series, J is for Jobs. One question that might run through a parent’s mind: What will happen when my child becomes an adult? Now this is something that all parents ask themselves but for parents of a child with autism- well, we’re just not always certain. Before her autism diagnosis, I had big dreams for my Sweet B. I had her future envisioned. And then that all changed. Will she go to college? Probably not. Could she live independently? That’s doubtful. And could she hold a job? That depends.
Now, Sweet B does have jobs around the house- she contributes to household chores though that’s another post for another day.
But can an individual with autism hold a job? Can they really become employed?
In short- yes. But that also depends on the individual.
For someone like Sweet B, the prospect is not high. She’s non-verbal, so anything in the customer service or telemarketing industry is out. But could she do something else like working with a computer? Perhaps. It would all depend on the vocational training available and finding a job coach.
I’ve been in a few situations where I had co-workers on the spectrum. All across the United States specialty places of employment are popping up just for individuals on the spectrum. In fact, individuals on the higher end of the spectrum will likely have more success with finding a job. In some ways, their autism just might be benefiting them because they’ve found a niche and they just so happen to be really good at it. Areas like high tech jobs, just might be the way to go.
Parents, the adults who know our children best, can also help their loved one find employment. Sometimes this might be self employment. How? By creating items like t-shirts or helping out on a farm.
One of the keys for an individual on the spectrum to keeping that job, once they’ve found it, is support. This could come in the form of a job coach who checks in with them regularly or who might even be on the job site for the first few days. They might need a training buddy and in most instances- an understanding employer.
Individuals with autism can hold jobs. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility but it might not be possible for all individuals. For someone like Sweet B… only time will tell.