Almost every parent wants their child to grow up to live a happy life, including having a fulfilling job that provides for them financially. However, one of the most challenging realities to face as a parent of a child with autism is that between 70-80% of individuals with autism are unemployed. The good news, though, is that many large companies have begun to see the value of hiring an individual with autism. With appropriate planning and skill-building, parents can help set up their child with autism for employment success.
Organization and Time Management
For many young people, time management can be a real struggle. Those with autism can especially have a hard time. Parents can help their kids manage their time by teaching them how to create a schedule of upcoming events. Writing these events down, estimating how much time they’ll take to complete, and chronologically scheduling specific tasks can help individuals stay organized and manage their time effectively. It’s also important to teach that sometimes schedules need to change. If one task ends up taking longer than anticipated, adjustments may need to be made to the overall schedule to ensure all deadlines get met.
Mobile phones and tablets, binders, calendars, and Google® alerts are examples of customizable tools that can efficiently manage time.
Social Skills for Interviews and Employment
Good social skills are necessary to interact and communicate with others effectively. Other benefits of strong social skills include relationship building, increased social acceptance, and decreased stress and anxiety. Even non-verbal children with autism can learn practical social skills by learning to listen and follow instructions.
You can help your child prepare for an upcoming interview by practicing common interview questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your greatest strengths?
- Why do you want to work for our organization?
- What has been your greatest challenge? Greatest accomplishment?
Appropriate Workplace Attire
It’s vital to have clean, wrinkle-free, and appropriate clothing for work. Before starting a job, it’s essential to understand the dress code fully. Parents can help their kids understand different dress code requirements by providing examples and photos of uniforms, formal, business, and casual attire and showing examples of what types of clothing are appropriate for interviews. Trimmed haircuts, warm smiles, firm handshakes, and correct body postures are also important.
Money management skills are vital for kids to learn so that they can become more independent as they grow up. Several activities can help teens learn money management skills, such as:
- Have them decipher between wants and needs, and make a list of both
- Help them set up a budget.
- Give them an allowance and have them buy the things they want at the store
- Teach them what a bank is and how it works
- Help them open a savings or a checking account, and teach them how to manage their accounts
- Help them understand paying bills by going through common monthly expenses such as housing, food, and utilities so they can get an understanding of how much those items cost.
The bottom line is that people with autism can work and with the right support and accommodations, they can be remarkable contributors when given the right opportunity.
If you would like more details on preparing your child for future employment or would like individualized assistance, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.