Working hard to work hard

Once children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) grow up, a lot of parents aren’t necessarily sure what route to take. They can have their children live at home or live in a group home. Many parents believe that these children will not be able to make livings for themselves, but this is not the case! With the correct type of training and therapy, people with ASD can thrive in the workplace. Part of ABA therapy for teens and young adults is transition preparation from a school setting to a work setting. Here, we will discuss what we do to help with that transition.

When a child with ASD reaches teen years, it’s time to start thinking about transitioning out of school. IDEA, an act we discussed in a different post, only covers children through age 21. After they turn 21, people with ASD lose their schooling coverage and have to think about different options. We start teaching work skills to children when they are in their teens. Some of these tasks include wiping tables after eating, sweeping floors, and mopping. These are basic skills that every adult has, so teaching them those skills will help them get entry level jobs.

Another important area we teach to our clients is how to relate with other coworkers. Social skills training is a huge part of ABA therapy for a majority of our clients because they don’t always know how to process the environment around them. Teaching them about coworker relationships will help our clients have appropriate conversations with coworkers without crossing boundaries. Having these skills will help them naturally make friends in the workplace and relate well to their bosses.

Workplace safety is something we only teach to everyone in certain positions, but a lot of it comes to us as common sense. However, for people with ASD, the safety doesn’t always come as common sense. In therapy, we remind them about the precautions to take when working in certain environments. We teach them general workplace safety rules, such as putting on gloves. Going into jobs with this knowledge helps them thrive when they start working.

One therapy strategy we use is sorting tasks. Sorting is very important for a lot of jobs, but we don’t normally think about this importance. In restaurants, you need to keep forks with forks, not forks with knives, when putting them away. In office jobs, some forms need to be in a certain file, and it’s crucial that they’re put in the correct file. We teach sorting skills based on our client’s starting level. Some of our younger clients need to start with colors and shapes before moving into different “types.”

We hope that this post has helped clarify different ways ABA therapists help with the transition from school to work, if that’s the right path for your child. There is a lot to consider when figuring out what path is best, but at least now, you have the security of knowing that your child CAN work and CAN thrive in a work environment when given the right tools. Thanks for reading!

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