What is being done to provide adults on the spectrum with effective, efficient and respectful solutions to participate meaningfully in society?
We highlight some of the excellent programs and resources that exist to elevate the lives of adults living with autism.
Adults with autism can be terrific employees. Many employers find that people with autism are honest, dependable and a relatively untapped talent pool. Their different strengths can make them good at computer coding, quantitative tasks, and organization. Any organization benefits from a neurodiverse workforce and an increasing number of progressive companies specifically recruit people with autism and create programs to support any special needs they have.
Here are some employers with dedicated programs for hiring neurodiverse employees with links to their specific programs:
Other employment resources:
- Source America works with smaller companies to help them hire tens of thousands of people collectively with significant disabilities.
- Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable was developed with employers to help close the underemployment gap for people with autism.
- The US Dept. of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy promotes policies and coordinates with government employers to increase workplace success for people with disabilities.
Adults with autism have a harder time to create a fulfilling life. Just like everyone, they need friendship, support and opportunities to work and to engage socially. When federal or local services fail to meet these needs, family, friends and community must step in.
In Virginia, a social group was created called Cool Aspies to bring members (aged 18-30) together for outings, parties, hikes and conversations. Book clubs are both popular and helpful. Community service is another way to be social. Kiwanis’ Aktion Club has local chapters for adults with autism to meet and work with like-minded, service-oriented people. And kindness and awareness of their unique needs go a long way. A story last week of a hospital employee’s response to a man with autism’s struggles demonstrates the importance of empathy.
Services and Resources
Easterseals has programs and services for adults with autism throughout the country. They help find jobs, housing and support community engagement.
Many university hospitals provide ongoing services specifically focused on the needs of adults with autism. Examples are: University of Washington’s UW Autism Center and the University of Colorado’s JFK Center. Check with your local hospital to find out what they offer.
Recognizing the need to support people with SPD and autism beyond their childhood, the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder now provides both resources and therapy services for adults with SPD in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Many clinics are extending the age of clients they serve and providing specialized programs specifically for adults.