Guide to effective autism employment support programs

Author : mark01
Publish Date : 2021-09-27 16:59:40
Guide to effective autism employment support programs

Navigating the neurotypical marketplace for proper employment requires a wide variety of skills that place most autistics job hunters at an immediate disadvantage. Job descriptions are often written in broad, generalized terms that make it unclear what the day to day expectations will be. To apply for job, the ability to write in the abstract and draw lines from previous experience to what will be expected is a tricky skill. Finally, most companies still hold on to the out-dated face to face interview model, which even for neurotypical applicants is a poor indicator of actual job performance. With all of these barriers, it’s no wonder that 80% of autistic adults in British Columbia are either unemployed or in work that doesn't make use of their unique skills and talents.

Getting Professional Help

            While many autistic adults will have a support network of family and friends around them to help them navigate their day to day lives, these helpers don’t usually have the skills or knowledge to help the autistic person in their life find meaningful employment. This is when many autistic individuals choose to give up on their career dreams, but there is help available in the form of autism employment support programs.

An autism employment support program is any organization who works with both autistic job seekers and receptive hiring businesses to help make a mutually beneficial match. They will provide training to the autistic applicants for both the specific job they’re applying for and general workplace preparation, as well as working with the hiring company to help them make the necessary changes and accommodations that will make the hiring and onboarding processes run as smoothly as possible. These organizations are often run as not for profit, meaning that any income that they make is ploughed back into the company in terms of purchasing additional resources or paying stipends and salaries for their employees. This means that their focus is always on making a meaningful and successful match rather than trying to get as many people hired in any position possible.

Effective Autism Employment Support Programs

            As with any employment programs, not all autism talent management agencies are created equally. There are several performance indicators that make for an effective autism employment support programs by autism friendly employers (i.e. one that matches autistic applicants to meaningful and long term positions) which include:

  • Meeting the applicants where they’re at - the autism spectrum is big and broad which means that it’s important to get to know each autistic individual personally. An effective autism employment support program will put the job seeker at the heart of everything that they do and will spend a significant amount of time at the start of each pathway getting to know the individual and finding out about their career and life dreams as well as their skills and experiences. They will then be able to find suitable jobs with local businesses that will lead to long lasting employment.

  • Life skills training - many neurotypical workers don’t fully appreciate the sheer amount of effort it takes them simply to be sat at their desk each morning. From waking up in enough to complete their morning routine to planning out their commute to and from work, there’s a lot of skills involved in being work ready. An effective autism employment support program will dedicate a lot training time to these life skills as well as job readiness training to help the autistic applicants be successful when they get into work.
  • After employment support - the beauty of working with not for profit employment agencies is that they are more invested in the long term success of each hiring. To be seen as truly effective, they need case studies that show that their approach to autistic job hunting leads to long term work. An effective autism employment support program should be available for ongoing training and support, both for the autistic employee and their supervisors and team members, beyond the usual three month probationary period. This long term support recognizes the challenges that autistic workers face in a dynamic workplace environment and shows a dedication to improving the lives and outcomes for autistic adults across the province.

Given that these indicators should be visible to new applicants, it is definitely worth your while asking prospective autism employment support programs about how they go about meeting the individuals, provide life skills training and what ongoing support they provide once the job has started. You’ll be able to take these answers and compare them against other agencies to help you make the right pick.

Category : business

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