Roadmap to the future - Transitioning into Adulthood with ASD
Preparing Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) for Adulthood
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Click on the links below for information about each of the transition areas.

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Employment | Employment Practices | Employment Resources for Self Adovocates


alt=''Early transition planning can help to identify key community agencies to invite to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and other person-centered planning meetings. Establishing relationships early with the agencies that are needed for planning transition from school to work can foster successful employment. For example, the vocational rehabilitation counselor can become actively involved before the student leaves the school setting so that an Individual Plan of Employment (IPE) and vocational rehabilitation services can be in place as the student prepares to leave the school program. Eligibility for services will need to be determined according to VR criteria to establish employability.

Some of the key agencies addressed in this section that are associated with employment are: vocational rehabilitation, One-Stop Missouri Career Centers, Centers for Independent Living and Missouri Department of Mental Health Regional Offices for Developmental Disabilities.


Services Description

Vocational Rehabilitation

For eligible individuals, VR provides assessment and employment services leading to an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE).  Services may include:  guidance and counseling, job seeking skills, job placement and vocational training.

Missouri Career Centers

Centers provide career exploration and career counseling, job search, resume writing assistance, help applying for financial aid, advice on interview skills and using basic computer skills

Centers for Independent Living

CILs provide a variety of services including the following four core services that are required for federal and state mandates:  information and referral, independent living skills training, advocacy and peer support.

Mental Health

Resource List on Employment by the Missouri Commission on ASD, self-directed services, assistance through regional office employment coordinators,Missouri Department of Mental Health Employment Services/Supports brochure

Finding the right supports in the workplace for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a key factor to their success on the job. Some individuals may work in the community, while others may work from home and be self-employed (micro-enterprise). While the individual characteristics of ASD may not be more significant than those having other disabilities, the range of characteristics can be quite diverse and may present a challenge for providers of support in the workplace. A reference guide for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals and families is Adult Autism & Employment - A Guide for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals by Scott Standifer, PhD. The level and intensity of support a job seeker with autism may require should to be tailored according to their needs. Sometimes, support that is available to all workers is adequate to meet the needs of the person with autism. At other times, the individual may need on-the-job support by a job coach from an outside agency.

Employment Practices

alt=""Career Development
In spite of the fact that we have supportive legislation (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Americans with Disabilities Act) and effective practices, many youth still experience poor outcomes for employment. All youth need career preparation and work-based learning experiences while still in school. The Guideposts for Success by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability provide valuable information for students and families regarding what youth need while still in school in order to be prepared for a job. Learning soft skills as part of career instruction combined with the occupational skills that are needed for a job will yield success in the workplace for many individuals. Simulating work exprience within a classroom setting is one way that soft skills can be taught.

Families and other caring adults play a vital, yet unrecognized role in helping young people with disabilities explore careers, build work skills, and be successful in employment. Download the Tapping into the Power of Families: How Families of Youth with Disabilities Can Assist in Job Search and Retention Info Brief to learn how you can assist as a family member.

Job Accommodations
Find possible accommodations for individuals with ASD on the Job Accommodation Network website.

Supported Employment
Supported employment is a way to move people from dependence on a service delivery system to independence via competitive employment. Recent studies indicate that the provision of on-going support services for people with significant disabilities increases their rates for employment retention. Supported employment encourages people to work within their communities and encourages work, social interaction, and integration. To learn more about how to support people in getting and keeping a job, visit the National Collaborative on Worksforce and Disability website and download the Job Coaching
Services and Benefits to Businesses and People with Disabilities
from VA Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

It is important for individuals to have the opportunity to try out a variety of jobs that are similar to the careers that they are interested in persuing. Students need these opportunities to understand how the accommodations that they receive in the school setting tranfer to the work place. To learn more about internships click here.

On-The-Job Training
On-the-job training (OJT) is one of the best training methods because it is planned, organized, and conducted at the employee's worksite. OJT will generally be the primary method used for developing employee skills and increasing productivity. Visit the U.S. Department of the Interior website for more information.

Customized Employment
Customized Employment means tailoring the job to meet the needs of both the job seeker and the employer.It emphasizes the strengths, requirements, and interests of a person with significant needs. Negotiating job responsibilities with employer expectations is an essential component of customized employment. To learn more about Customized Employment, download Cutsomized Employment: Practical Solutions for Employment Success from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

Self-employment (microenterprise)
alt=""A microenterprise business is a small business with five or fewer employees that requires less than $35,000 to start, and is too small to qualify for commercial banking services. There are an estimated two million microentrepreneurs in the United States today, offering a variety of services and products from home-based day care and auto repair to specialty foods and scrap books.

An example of an individual who has used his talents to create a business is Jonathan DeVries. With the help of his family he has created KURMUDGEON KARDS AND T-SHIRTS.

To successfully create an entrepreneurial business you will need to follow certain steps. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a model toolkit for establishing a small business.

Sheltered Employment
Sheltered workshops are small businesses for people with disabilities. Missouri sheltered workshops depend heavily on contracted work. Each workshop has a special certificate from the Department of Labor that allows it to pay sub-minimum wages. Workshop employees are paid based on their ability to perform in relation to the performance of a person without a disability. If an employee produces 50% of what a non-disabled person produces, then they receive 50% of what that person is paid. Prior to being hired for employment in the workshop, people must be assessed by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to determine whether or not they are capable of working in a competitive environment at the time of prospective employment. Examples of jobs performed may include: packaging, assembly (simple to complex), marketing and public relations services (collating, stuffing, and sorting mailings), and various other products.

Employment Resources for Self-Advocates


National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability-Youth
Full list of employment publications

Selected publications:
• Accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
• Essential Skills to Getting a Job: What Young People with Disabilities Need to Know

Additional Resources
• Advancing Employment. Connecting People (APSE)
• Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)
• People First of Missouri

Where do I start?
alt=""What steps do you need to take to plan for the future of an individual with ASD?
Transition Roadmap
alt=""Follow the roadmap to find resources that will help individuals with ASD as they transition into adult life.
mu logoThompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri 205 Portland Street Columbia, Mo. 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6081 | E-mail: Copyright © 2011 — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information. An equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. Last updated: May 19, 2011