Counseling For Autism And Employment

As counselor and therapist with a specialization in autism, I encountered many people in the autism spectrum of all ages. But the biggest question is: Is there employment waiting for those with autism? Can people with autism have employment opportunities waiting for them? What is the impact of autism on employment?

Some were lucky to get diagnosed early, so they could get immediate treatment and lead an everyday life. Others, however, spent their formative years in regular schools, wondering why they were slower than other kids intellectually and physically. Then, their parents would only consider the possibility of them having autism when they could no longer find a college or workplace to give them an opportunity.

One of my newest autism clients had a similar story to the latter. His name was Sean.

Can people with autism have a job?
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Employment For The Mentally Challenged Kid

My empathetic husband was autistic Sean’s new psychiatrist for autism. I felt the need to emphasize the word “new” because the autistic teen never met an autism expert before my empathetic husband.

When my empathetic husband referred the teenager with autism to me, he suggested offering family counseling as well. I had seen enough of my clients’ families to realize that not all of them wanted to accept that they produced a child with autism even if they already brought them out to seek autism help. In their minds, they were still hoping that the autism psychiatrists would not see anything odd in their autistic child.

Is that empathic? No.

I must say that Sean had already been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, before his parents set up an appointment with me. From what my empathetic husband told me, the mom and dad took it the hard way, given how much they cried throughout the autism diagnosis face and even afterward. I knew from there that I needed to help Sean’s family understand autism.

Can autism be a hindrance to employment for Sean? Is autism underrated in terms of employment, among others?

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But our goal was to help and treat the autistic boy.

The autism parents were aware that sending autistic Sean to college was automatically not in the cards; it might take years before he could be ready for it. Besides, Sean mentioned that he did not even like studying, so it was not advisable to push him to do something he did not want to do. So, the next best step for him was to find an employment.

“What are interests and hobbies?” I asked my autism client empathetically.

“I like building LEGO figures, making coffee for mom and dad, and identifying different linens,” the autistic child replied.

After that, I encouraged Sean’s parents to look up nearby toy stores, cafés, and linen shops that employed young people with autism. This introductory experience would be ideal for autistic Sean as it would allow him to interact with autism individuals and learn the importance of empathy and accountability. They eventually informed me that they went with Starbucks since it was only a walking distance from their home. Still, that’s not the only deciding factor for Sean’s employment.

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“Our son loved the employee / employer interaction there,” his mother informed me. “His employment never too crowded, so it won’t be overwhelming for Sean. He already knew some of the autistic employees there, too. Best of all, they would train him to become a barista, which he seemed excited about.”

Excitement was a positive sign indeed. People in the autism spectrum were known for not being in tune with their emotions, but they knew how to emphasize their likes and dislikes. And if they liked an employment, you could almost always bet that they would be into it for a long time.

2021

Sean halted his employment at his local Starbucks branch during the pandemic last year, which deeply upset him. The autistic child’s parents sought autism help again for their autistic son to make sure that he would not do anything drastic.

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When I talked to Sean, he articulated how bored he was at home. After emphasizing his feelings, I told him that he did not need to stop being a barista just because his employment was closed automatically. “Your parents and sisters can be your customers for now. You can take their orders every day,” I suggested.

That seemed to lighten up Sean, and that’s how he spent most of his quarantining days. Sometimes, my empathetic husband and I would swing by his place to get our “orders” and check on his autism as well.

Things got better come 2021 when autistic Sean’s employment reopened. He got employed again, and last I heard, his employer was preparing him to do a barista workshop for other young adults with autism.