Receiving a Diagnosis in Adulthood
Many adults have discovered that adult autism offers an explanation for the challenges that they have experienced throughout their lives. Some may choose to pursue a formal diagnosis for ASD.
Adults on the spectrum often find the diagnosis to be a relief, as it gives a name to the feelings of being different that they frequently experience. Others may feel sad or angry about the diagnosis due to the social and vocational problems that can be associated with the condition.
Autism in the Workplace
Employment for adults with autism is possible at most levels of functioning, given the right training, support, and workplace setting. Some adults with ASD, especially those with high functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome, are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs. Many others with ASD are capable of employment under the supervision of managers trained in working with persons with disabilities.
It is also important for workers on the autism spectrum to have a well-developed social support structure outside of their workplace to help them handle unexpected personal problems that may affect their working schedule. Due to difficulties with social interaction, people on the autism spectrum are often prejudged before they can prove their work skills in a workplace setting. Proper supports for employers including training and accommodation consultation can help ensure success for all.
Translating Special Interests into Careers
Many people on the autism spectrum have special interests that they are passionately focused on to the exclusion of all other topics. These may be translated into academics, which can lead to lifetime employment in the areas of interest. It is important to start early to identify the special interest and foster growth in that area.
For more information on autism and employment, read Dr. Temple Grandin’s article, Choosing the Right Job for People with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
It is important for people with ASD to have meaningful relationships outside of their immediate family. Making friends can be difficult for people on the spectrum, but it is possible with training and practice. Please contact us to find a therapist or social skills coach who helps people with ASD learn social interaction.
Some adults with ASD are able to live on their own. Others can live semi-independently in their own home or apartment if they have family members or support personnel who help with the tasks of daily living. For a list of programs that help people with ASD live independently, please contact us.
Living at Home
Government funds may be available for families that choose to have their adult child with ASD live at home. These programs include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid waivers, and other programs. Please contact us for information about these programs. An appointment with a local Social Security Administration office is a good first step to understand the programs for which the young adult is eligible.
Supervised Group Living
Persons with disabilities frequently live in group homes or apartments staffed by professionals who help the individuals with basic needs. These often include meal preparation, housekeeping, and personal care needs. Higher functioning individuals may be able to live in a home or apartment where staff only visits a few times per week. These persons generally prepare their own meals, go to work, and conduct other daily activities on their own.
For more information on any of these topics:
Or, call us at 412-781-4116