Employment is an important part of adult life. Many of us define ourselves by the job or career path we choose, thereby making employment and employability integral aspects of adult life. Therefore, if teenagers are to transition successfully to adult life, we need to make sure that they have the requisite skills necessary. For all teenagers, ‘work’ is the desired destination following completion of school. However, some teenagers and young people with autism may need a varying degree of support in order to gain employment and be successful at work.
Like teenagers without autism, teenagers with autism can do all different types of jobs!
Temple Grandin states:
“Successful transition from the structured world of school or college to successful employment requires a lot of hard work. One of the biggest problems I had with trying something new was fear. Long before a student on the ASD spectrum graduates from either high school or college, they need to get work experience while they are still in school. The transition from school to employment should be gradual and not abrupt.”
Quote taken from: http://www.grandin.com/inc/transition.employment.autism.aspergers.html
Teenagers with autism have unique skills that others without autism often do not share. Some individuals with autism may:
- Have high levels of concentration, accuracy and close attention to detail
- Be very reliable and conscientious
- Have specialist knowledge in topics of interest
- Have an exceptional memory
- Be able to carry out tasks with a high degree of accuracy
- Bring a different insight / viewpoint that others may not have considered
- Ability to bring an innovative approach to problem solving
- Have a strong sense of loyalty
The National Autistic Society provides helpful information for employers about recruiting a candidate with autism, see http://www.autism.org.uk/recruiting