Somewhere during high school, parents of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder begin to ask, "What's next?" Parents desire some aid with devising ways to prepare a future for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students have typically enjoyed some form of assistance throughout their school careers from therapists, tutors and teachers. A plan is essential to prepare for the future of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The young adult will need support within the community. The following are some ways to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to plan for continuing assistance so that some can have jobs and continue studies:
Work With a Job Coach
It is very important that the young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder work with a job coach. Job coaches receive special training in order to help pinpoint appropriate vocations for people of various skills and educational levels. A job coach can offer invaluable insight in the form of various tests that can ascertain promising career directions for the young adult student with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Obtain a Mentor
Mentors serve as positive role models that students with Autism Spectrum Disorder may pattern career moves after. Mentors can offer encouragement to students and families and can offer practical career advice. Mentors also often know people within their fields and can serve as a human resource by introducing the young adult to others. By following a mentor, the young adult may avoid many early career mistakes and gain tremendous guidance.
Leverage Special Interests
Many young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a very special interest. These interests are often pursued to a very intense, almost obsessive degree. The student has often been hyper focused on one interest for many years, if not for his entire childhood. Nevertheless, these special interests are often clues to successful future career directions. Why not harness the natural interest of the young adult? It is best to acknowledge and use these interests rather than attempt to stifle them down as being, "too obsessive."
By using the above methods, parents are better able to help their young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder prepare for adult life. As in early childhood and elementary, preparation is the key to success for preparing for adult life. Young adults may have promising lives and achieve encouraging milestones.
Carley, M. (2008) Aspergers from the Inside Out. New York, NY: Penguin Group
Koegel, L. (2009) Growing Up on the Spectrum. New York, NY: Penguin Group
Sicile- Kira, C. (2004) Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Group.