For people with autism, adjusting to a new job is difficult because there are so many uncertainties. It can be especially hard for children with autism who have never been employed before. If you are thinking about job searching with your child, read this guide about how to help your child with autism prepare for the workplace.
Celebrate your child’s employment success
When your child with autism lands a job, this is a big deal. Perhaps your child does not know how wonderful it is to get a job because they are afraid of what it will entail. Anxiety is common for people with autism, but you can ease some of that anxiety by rewarding your child for employment. Instead of telling your child to stop worrying, calmly explain that employment is good news and ask if your child wants to do something fun with you. This will create a distraction from anxiety, and it could lead to less anxiety on the first day of the job.
Hire a job coach
As a parent, your job is to advocate for your child’s needs. However, you have other responsibilities, such as work and maintaining your entire household. There is nothing wrong with hiring a job coach. These people are trained to work with people of all ability levels. Your child might qualify for a weekly occupational rehabilitation program for minors. Through this program, a job coach will answer work-related questions and do stress-relief exercises in a group setting. This is a really effective solution for children with medium-functioning autism. If your child has low functioning autism, a better idea would be to hire a job coach for on-site training. Additionally, you might be able to get free or inexpensive services through your child’s school or a local park district.
Communicate with your child’s therapist
Perhaps your child told their therapist about stress related to a new job. By talking to the therapist privately, you can learn about how to talk to your child effectively before the first day of work. Also, the therapist can give you resources for autism support groups, employment events and lectures, and job coaches. If your child does not feel comfortable with you talking to the therapist one-on-one, you could set up appointments for the three of you.
Listen to your child’s feelings and concerns
The only way to properly help your child is to understand their issues and concerns. This requires more listening than talking. However, if your child says something about being treated unfairly by coworkers or being yelled at by the boss, ask more questions. Perhaps your child is describing disability discrimination. If this is the case, it is very important to seek a disability discrimination attorney.
These are just a few tips about how to help your child with autism prepare for the workplace. Remember that your child needs your advocacy now more than ever. Make your own life easier by beginning your search for a job coach before your child looks for employment.