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Autism Spectrum Disorders Outreach Guide

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People With Autism and Vocational Rehabilitation

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Rather than “awareness” month, advocates prefer the term “acceptance.” The latter term is thought to embody action, while the former term implies passive noticing. Autism Action Month gives us a chance to focus our attention on the relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and vocational rehabilitation.

This is an opportunity to both learn and educate about neurodiversity—an umbrella term that encompasses neurocognitive differences including autism and other conditions—in the workplace context. We've gathered together our resources and some from our partners across the web, so you can have an autism resource collection right at your fingertips.

By the Numbers

In 2021 the number of children diagnosed with ASD increased from one in 54 to one in 44. As vocational rehabilitation professionals, the more we learn and understand, the better we can help jobseekers with ASD.

According to the Autism Society:

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are ready and willing to work is typically twice that of the general non-disabled working population.

  • Nearly 42% of young adults who experience Autism never worked for pay during their early 20s.
  • More than 66% of young adults on the Autism spectrum are unemployed and are not engaged in higher education 2 years after exiting high school

It’s important to remember that each person with autism spectrum disorder is unique. People with ASD differ as much from one another as do all people. Adults with ASD may speak and relate well with others. They may have good eye contact. They may be verbal or non-verbal. They may be very smart, of average intelligence, or have cognitive deficits.

Many people with autism spectrum disorder are successfully living and working and contributing to the well-being of others in their local communities. This is most likely to be the case when appropriate services and individualized supports are provided.

Recommended Resources from Our Partners:

Virginia Commonwealth University

VR Workforce Studio

Workforce GPS

ASKEARN

  • Neurodiversity in the Workplace
    Hiring neurodiverse employees can provide companies with a competitive edge that brings measurable benefits, both financially and in terms of workplace culture.

Other Resources:

Department of Labor

Ask JAN

AUTISM @ WORK

  • Autism @ Work Playbook
    Finding talent and creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with autism is important. The Autism @ Work Playbook is the product of a collaborative research project and provides practical tips for everyday problems.

Autism Society

  • Employment Resources
    Employment plays a pivotal role in adulthood. By using appropriate services and support and leveraging an individual’s strengths and abilities, employment is possible for most adults who experience Autism. Planning for future employment should be part of every child’s life plan and career pathways should be cultivated in adulthood.

TED Talks

  • The World Needs All Kinds of Minds
    TED Talk with Dr. Temple Grandin
    Dr. Grandin describes her ability to "think in pictures," which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of minds.

TED Talks Playlist

Have a suggestion? Leave us a comment.

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