Many People With Autism Do Hold Jobs And Enter The Workforce
Wherever you fall on the autism spectrum, entering the workforce can pose many difficulties, including struggles with employers and the ability to handle tasks that fall beyond previously comfortable routines, and more.
It can be a real challenge for people with autism who need to adjust to a work environment. Now, youre dealing with coworkers and have to get along with employers who just might not even understand what it means to have autism, Frazier says. A boss might not understand that at all, or be able to know how to respond in the right way.
Unfortunately such challenges can lead to unemployment and underemployment for people with autism even though these individuals are able to work. And research shows it clearly has. In February 2018, the unemployment rate for people who have disabilities was 8.6 percent compared with 4.2 for people with no disabilities.
It can be incredibly stressful for these people with autism who might be fine with the physical demands of a job stocking shelves in a grocery store, for example, but who may find it nearly impossible to interact with a customer who asks a question about where something is located, for instance, Veenstra-Vanderweele adds. The stress and fear alone of being in this kind of environment could discourage a person from seeking a job in the first place.
Some resources that help individuals with autism find and succeed in jobs that are appropriate for them include:
What Is Autistic Spectrum Disorder
It is estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the UK is autistic, with boys being more affected. It is not a disease, and there is no cure. If a person has ASD, he or she has to live their whole life with it. It does not restrict a person from leading a normal life, but certain therapies are needed to make them live a life they want to. Some people with ASD require little or no support, while others need daily support from a carer or parents. ASD can present as early as before three years of age but may be diagnosed after three years. The children need speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, and other interventions to help them live a normal life.
Planning Starts At 14
Senator says parents often begin panicking when their kids hit 14 and transition planning starts coming up. IDEA requires every state to begin this process for all students with an Individualized Education Program by age 16, and some states require that school districts start the process as early as 14. During the annual IEP meeting, the focus shifts to more specific planning and goal-setting for the transition into young adulthood. Goals might include things like post-secondary education, vocational training, and independent living. Autism Speaks also provides a Transition Tool Kit, which offers guidance on everything from housing to Internet safety.
When it came to Nat, Senator created a shared living arrangement. Its like a group home, except that theres a live-in caregiver, which Nat qualifies for due to his level of disability, as opposed to rotating staff. The idea is that its just like home, Senator says. Hes got to do the groceries, clean and do the laundry, assisted by another part-time caregiver. Nat shares a house not far from his family with another young man with similar issues; that mans family owns the house and Nat rents from them.
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Group Homes Create Families
Barbara Fischkin also helped create a home for her son Dan. She first shared the story of his miracle group homefunded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and run by the Nassau County Chapter of AHRC, a nonprofit grouptwo years ago. Then, she described it as a newly renovated house on Long Islanda place I call the frat house. Actually, it is a beautiful and smartly designed home that could be a model for such endeavors nationwide. And the guys, who are in their 20s and 30s, are all at the age when leaving home and family and striking out on your owneven if you need lots of staff to helpis something one yearns to do.
Two years later, she reports that Dan, now 24, and his three housemates become more like a family all the time. The guys look out for one another. Dan is still not verbal and has an aide most of the time but is making great progress with independent typing.
Those With Autism Spectrum Disorder Have A Shorter Life Expectancy Heres Why
Two recent studies will undoubtedly shock individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorder . These studies show a much earlier age of death in those with ASD as compared with the general population.
One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in April 2017, finds the life expectancy in the United States of those with ASD to be 36 years old as compared to 72 years old for the general population. They note that those with ASD are 40 times more likely to die from various injuries. About 28 percent of those with ASD die of an injury. Most of these are suffocation, asphyxiation, and drowning. The risk of drowning peaks at about 5 to 7 years old. As 50 percent of those with ASD wander, water safety and swim lessons are a must. GPS trackers are also available for purchase should a child wander or get lost. This makes finding the child or adult much easier and faster.
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All People With Autism Are Extremely Intelligent Or Gifted In At Least One Area
Blame this misconception on the movie Rain Man. Some people assume that everyone with an ASD has a special talent, such as being a mathematical genius or an incredible artist. While these myths about autism granting someone heightened intelligence or artistic talent have remained prevalent in popular media, the fact is that people with autism have a wide range of skills and abilities, just like everyone else. While an estimated 10 percent of people with an ASD do demonstrate a high level of ability in art, music, math or statistics, most do not possess savant talents or extremely high IQs.
Families Struggle To Find Or Invent Good Supported Living Options
When Susan Senators son Max was racing toward the high school finish line, he joined the rest of his classmates for the usual rites of passage. He took the ACT and applied to good schools, landing at New York Universitys prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
But things couldnt have been more different for Maxs brother, Nat. Senator, a blogger, memoir writer and novelist, had to take into account the fact that her profoundly autistic older son, while very competent when it comes to self-help skills like showering and dressing, is also limited verbally, cannot handle money and still doesnt look both ways when crossing the street.
In other words, she knew he needed a 24-hour caregiver to be safe. But because the infrastructure and services arent in place to create the type of living arrangement she wanted for Nat after he came of age, she joined the growing ranks of parents who are struggling to make short- and long-term provisions, often taking matters into their own hands.
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Autism & Suicidal Ideation
Past research has shown that the rates of suicidal ideation among people with ASD is much higher than in the general population.
The rates tend to be higher among girls with autism and people with milder forms of disorder. In the latter case, it is usually because people who are higher-functioning have a greater awareness of the limitations and frustrations of their autism than those with severe cognitive deficiencies.
Additionally, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders writes that many people on the spectrum are victimized by bullying, sometimes on a daily basis. This often leads to the development of anxiety conditions and depressive disorders.
Those conditions, on their own, are leading factors in suicidal ideation and behavior. When combined with the challenges of living with autism, it significantly increases the risk factors for people with autism spectrum disorder.
Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support
People who meet the level 2 criteria need more support than those with level 1 autism. Social challenges can make holding a conversation very difficult.
Even with support, the person may find it hard to communicate coherently, and they are more likely to respond in ways that neurotypical people consider surprising or inappropriate.
The person may:
- only discuss very specific topics
- have difficulty understanding or using nonverbal communication, including facial expression
For example, they may face away from the person with whom they are communicating.
People with level 2 autism may also find daily functioning difficult due to the challenges of coping with change. Facing change might cause them to experience significant distress.
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So What Do I Want You To Do About It
Ive spent my whole life being told that non-autistic people are so brilliant and intuitive when it comes to social issues. Like many autistic people, though, I havent always felt like Ive seen much empathy, compassion, or understanding. And the evidence is starting to suggest that were not wrong about the level of judgment and stereotyping we face.
If you want to understand people on the spectrum, Id recommend starting with some of the following: Listen to us. Invest in our work. Invest in science and actions that actually make our lives better now instead of chasing a hypothetical cure. Dont kill us. Think twice about sympathizing with the parents who do kill us. Dont rush to armchair-diagnose every mass murderer with autism like what happened with the most recent Florida school shooting. Give your money to marginalized autistic people instead of charities like Autism Speaks, which dedicate only a small percentage of their budget to programs that will actually help autistic people. Think about how hard were working to exist in your world and consider meeting us halfway.
Tell us we dont bore you. Tell us we dont drain you. Look at us somewhere other than the eyes were really not comfortable with eye contact and are tired of being forced to make it for your benefit and tell us that we deserve to be alive.
And then act like it.
Autism & Medical Complexities
Scott Wright, a researcher at the University at Utah and editor of a book about autism spectrum disorder in middle age and later life, said that the âmedical complexitiesâ of patients with autism, coupled with their limitations in language and communication, can lead to physicians, hospitals, and the health care system at large not being capable of providing the best level of care. It might be possible that patients with severe forms of autism spectrum disorder donât even seek help for their ailments because they are overwhelmed by the awkwardness of talking with other people about themselves.
Wright suggests that a parent or a caregiver should find a specialist or a primary care physician who has training in working with autistic patients or otherwise demonstrates the necessary awareness and empathy for what the experience must be like for an autistic person. Beyond that, Wright recommended that there be more training for health care professionals so that autism can be recognized and appropriately responded to in a clinical setting.
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My Story Being Diagnosed With Autism As An Adult
My whole life I thought there was something wrong with me.; My diagnosis changed those thoughts.; When I learned about my diagnosis I knew nothing was wrong with meI knew that I had something very special about me and my life was about to change.
It was April 3,;2013, two weeks after my 34th;birthday, when I heard the words: youre on the spectrum. As soon as I heard those four words, my body collapsed into my mom’s arms. My mom and my stepdad were both in the room with me and you could feel the relief that went out the window.;
I remember walking out of work two days after my official diagnosis;after a long day and stopping in my steps in the middle of the parking lot thinking to myself I feel normal.; Why, after all these years, did I finally feel normal?
Im still trying to figure out what this all means.; All I know for sure is that I finally feel whole and as strange as this might sound, my life makes sense now.; I dont feel out of place and awkward.; I guess the greatest thing that came out of this is how Ive been feeling my whole life has finally been validated.
I think I had two things working against me growing up.; The first was that autism wasnt as known as it is today. Second, it was and still is in a small way considered to be a boys thing.
While boys on the spectrum tend to become rowdy, girls on the spectrum tend to introvert and are labeled shy and quiet. Thats all I heard growing upthat I was shy and quiet.; It annoyed the heck out of me.
Early Autism May Not Last A Lifetime
A new study found that some children correctly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders at an early age may lose symptoms as they grow older. Further research may help scientists understand this change and point the way to more effective interventions.
ASD includes several related brain disorders, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. People with ASD generally have trouble with social interactions and communication. ASD affects about 1 in every 88 children.
Optimal outcome a term used when symptoms are lost later in life has been documented in previous ASD studies. However, questions remained about whether the symptoms disappeared or the original diagnosis was wrong.
A research team led by Dr. Deborah Fein at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, sought to investigate whether optimal outcome could be seen in children whod had a confirmed ASD diagnosis before age 5. Optimal outcome participants had to be currently enrolled in regular education classrooms and have a documented report of their earlier diagnosis from a physician or psychologist specializing in autism. To confirm this assessment, the reports were edited to remove all information except the descriptions of behavior. They were then reviewed by an ASD diagnostic expert.
The optimal outcome group appeared to have somewhat milder social problems at an early age than the high-functioning ASD group. However, both had similar communication and repetitive behavior symptoms.
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Difficulty With Verbal Communication
A child with HFA will typically have no problems understanding language. Learning individual words, grammar rules, and vocabulary may not be an issue for them.
The use of language to communicate, however, can be problematic. Someone with HFA may have difficulty understanding sarcasm, metaphors, or idioms. This is known as “pragmatic” language.
In addition, some people with HFA may struggle to speak when under stress or overwhelmed.
Dietary Planning For Aspergers
People with Asperger syndrome sometimes have difficulty with eating and may only like a small range of foods.
Poor diet can lead to health problems in the future and may make some symptoms and behaviours worse.
Some people report that eliminating certain foods such as gluten or sugar from the diet of someone with the condition, or adding supplements for Asperger syndrome has improved their behaviours or helped them feel better, but there is little evidence to support these claims.
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Study Identifies Predictors Of Early Death Among Autistic People
by Nicholette Zeliadt;/;17 April 2019
People with autism who avoid social interactions or have troubles with daily living skills from using a toilet to preparing meals are at increased risk of an early death, a new study suggests1.
Autistic people are more than twice as likely as those in the general population to die prematurely. They are also at increased risk for a range of health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, that can be fatal.
The new study is the first to identify the specific factors that forecast mortality in autism. The researchers followed 406 autistic people in the United States over a 20-year period. They found that the 26 people who died during the study tended to have poor scores on measures of social ability or daily-living skills at the start of the study irrespective of age or health.
The findings hint that strategies that help autistic people develop social and daily living skills might also help them live longer.
Our goal was to identify factors that service systems, physicians and families could focus in on, as a way of maybe addressing the disparity, says lead investigator , emerita professor of social work at the University of Wisconsins Waisman Center in Madison.
Studies of autistic people in Sweden and Denmark have also found that they tend to die early.
But some experts say the new study is too small to draw firm conclusions. And the link between longevity and social or daily living skills may be indirect.
People With Milder Forms Of Autism Struggle As Adults
by Deborah Rudacille;/;8 September 2011
Contrary to popular assumption, people diagnosed with so-called mild forms of autism dont fare any better in life than those with severe forms of the disorder. Thats the conclusion of a new study that suggests that even individuals with normal intelligence and language abilities struggle to fit into society because of their social and communication problems.
In fact, people diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified are no more likely to marry or have a job than those with more disabling forms of autism, according to a Norwegian study published online in June in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders1.
Early intervention has the potential to alter this trajectory, say experts. But until todays children with autism reach maturity, it will be hard to say how much behavioral intervention at a young age can alter the course of their lives.
The implication of our findings is that the consequences of having an autism spectrum disorder with profound difficulties in communication skills and social impairment cant be compensated for by either high intellectual level or normal language function, says lead investigator Anne Myhre, associate professor of mental health and addiction at the University of Oslo in Norway.
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