15 Tips for Effective Job Training for Individuals with Autism

Adults with autism can face certain challenges in the workplace, which is why job training for special needs students is so important. It can help them identify a potential career path and develop the skills they will need to be successful. Often, this will involve practical work experience opportunities.

How to provide job training for adults with autism?


1. Identify their existing strengths, skills and interests to help them find a suitable job where they have the best chance of being successful and happy.

2. Identify their individual weaknesses and areas of difficulty so you can tailor the training to their needs, and know what type of work and situations to avoid.

3. Include a mix of different skills in the training, including academics, social skills, self-regulation and community skills, along with skills that are specific to the workplace. All of them are important to success, but which ones need to be prioritized may vary between individuals.

4. Work with potential employers so they know how best to support and accommodate employees with autism before work experience placements begin.

5. Internal work placements can build practical experience and skills while remaining in a supportive environment surrounded by staff with the right expertise and experience.

6. Ensure there are also external work experience placements so students can test themselves and improve their skills in a real-life workplace.

7. Develop skills that may not seem directly relevant to the workplace but that may be vital for employment success, such as navigating public transportation.

8. Explore how technology and digital literacy may look different in the workplace from how it looks at home or in the classroom.

9. Make sure they are aware not just of appropriate health and safety procedures but also why those procedures are important.

10. Practice professional etiquette and social situations that may arise in the workplace, where the rules of interaction may be different from more familiar environments.

11. Have a plan for how their skills development and career may progress in the long term and a way to monitor and measure that progress. Continue ongoing assessments throughout the program.

12. Group students by ability level rather than by age or qualifications when providing job training for adults with autism. Groups should be small so that teachers and coaches can engage with every student and provide one on one training where needed.

13. Provide opportunities for fun as well as more formal training. This can allow students to build their social skills in different contexts, relieve any tension, and make the more formal sessions less stressful.

14. Students should feel involved in their own education, career planning and training. Work with them, and do not dictate to them. Discuss their goals before the program begins and continue to check in regularly.

15. Continue to work on and maintain basic functional academics, communication, organization and social skills even while developing new and more complex skills that are specific to the workplace.

Conclusion

Job training for special needs students, including through work experience placements, is an invaluable way to improve skills and build confidence so adults with autism can live happy and independent lives.