One of the main goals of teaching both children and adults with autism is to help them develop the skills they need to live happy and fulfilling lives with the maximum degree of autonomy. Few things build self-confidence and financial independence like a successful career, which is why job training for special needs students is so important.
The importance of job training for students with autism
People with autism are less likely to be employed than neurotypical people. The reasons for this are complex: from trouble understanding workplace rules or communicating with coworkers to sensory aggravation from the physical environment to stereotypes and prejudice from neurotypical colleagues. All of this may lead to increased stress, worry, and self-confidence problems, which may make it more difficult to maintain employment.
Job training is a way to help adults with autism navigate the often complex world of work. With effective support and accommodations, the person with autism can learn appropriate workplace behaviour and skills, creating a more accessible work environment. This can help improve self-esteem, build relationships and increase independence and self-sufficiency.
The skills gained whilst at work can then be applied in other areas of life, such as in education or leisure activities. Learning workplace skills is a powerful way for a person with autism to engage more widely with the world.
How does job training for adults with autism work?
Work experience and job training for adults with autism can cover a range of topics. These may include workplace social interactions, health and safety measures, or use of technology, as well as professional behaviour and problem-solving more generally. It may also involve other aspects of job hunting, such as resume preparation and career planning, or how to use public transport when commuting
Preparation for work begins in the classroom with lessons on everything from functional skills (such as literacy and numeracy) to social skills and relationship building. Students also need to prepare for more general interactions with the outside world before narrowing their focus to the specific requirements of one individual job.
Whilst some job training may take place in the classroom, it is often helpful for students to be able to receive some firsthand work experience. This entails seeking out potential employers who are accepting of people with autism and are prepared to make whatever modifications are required. Students can then develop their practical skills in a real-world setting.
It requires supportive staff who can work with students, and with potential employers, to find the right placements and ensure that every student’s needs are met. As every adult with autism is different, this can require some flexibility to recognize and adapt to a wide range of circumstances. The greater the variety of jobs that can be made available to adults with autism, the more able the job training will be to serve a broader range of students.
It may be difficult for adults with autism to find and maintain employment, but proper job training can alleviate some of these challenges. Learning how to navigate the rules and expectations of the workplace is an effective way for an adult with autism to take control of their own lives and begin to achieve some of their long-term goals.