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Employment and autism

Cheryl Hammond has been expecting this day for years. Her son, Kyle, on the verge of his 22nd birthday, will graduate from high school in June and enter the world of disability services for adults with autism. What will he and thousands of others face as they transition to adulthood?

Despite the challenges of finding and sustaining employment, transition services and better workplace supports are opening up more job opportunities for those on the spectrum. Advocates also urge individuals to prepare for careers right from high school, and train for the job interview process. Once on the job, some organizations are being more considerate to needs of individuals with ASD by offering visual instructions and the option of working in an environment that is suitable to their sensory preferences, among other measures.

Today's 20-somethings with autism often feel like strangers among their own species when they leave the legal protections afforded schoolchildren to enter the adult world of limited support services, long waiting lists, and scant funding. Those who become accomplished sometimes look back on their experiences to reflect on their sense of alienation in a society that doesn't look favorably on those who don't blend in easily. Find out what the researchers have learned about the transition.