Help finding employment for autistic son.

Hi, I’m brand new to the site. The thing that’s triggered me to do this is finding myself at a loss in helping  my son to make the transition from education to work. He is very bright and academically focused. He is now 18 and at university. He has surpassed all expectations, primarily because his mind works with subjects such as science and he has little else in his life really. So all time and energy goes into study. When it comes to friendships, social contact and anything else outside of a book he is completely lost. A work environment, the busyness of that prospect scares him. The prospect of the summer months without his lectures and timetable also fills him with dread. How do I help him get a job? What will be suitable for him? Are there any employers that will be more understanding and accommodating? Any thoughts welcome.

  • Hi, He sounds a bit like me - I also lived for my studies and for science and that is what gave me stability for many years- Does he study sciences? Could he maybe find an internship/job in a lab over the summer? The environment in a research lab can be very nice- it can be easier to talk to people there as it is ok to just talk about science. I used to do an internship every summer- I would email a few labs that I was interested in to see whether any of them would be willing to have have me for an internship- my university also had some funds for people that wanted to do these kinds of internships over summer. Has he managed to make some friends through his course at university? If he wants to do work unrelated to his studies, I'm not sure what would be suitable/best as I also do not have experience with that... I hope he finds something he enjoys for the summer.

  • Hi there, Awesome to hear that your son has been experiencing such a wonderful time at his uni and doing so well! I have some links to share with you for employment that might be helpful:

    Firstly, our ‘Finding Work’ handbook aims to support autistic job seekers to find work. This digital workbook is designed to help autistic adults prepare themselves for employment. Topics include understanding autism better, choosing a suitable role, applying for roles, preparing for and getting through interviews, finding work experience, working on communication and social skills, managing anxiety and preparing for the workplace. It can be downloaded for free here: https://www.autism.org.uk/shop/products/books-and-resources/finding-work-interactive-ebook 
     
    We have also made available a free online learning module designed to help autistic job seekers entering the job market in understanding their strengths and what next steps they could take towards gaining meaningful employment or work: 
    https://www.autism.org.uk/what-we-do/professional-development/training-and-conferences/employment/finding-employment 

    Additionally, it could be worthwhile looking at the Evenbreak website for listed job vacancies (http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/). Even break matches disabled job seekers with employers looking to build a diverse workforce. 

    The British Association of Supported Employment, who have a database of supported employment agencies, so you can search for one in your local area: www.base-uk.org 

    Remploy, an organisation which supports people with disabilities and those experiencing complex barriers to work, into mainstream employment: www.remploy.co.uk 

    I have also included a link to our job-page: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/work-for-us Within this page you can click on our job and volunteering page to find out about our current employment and volunteering opportunities with The National Autistic Society. We particularly welcome applications from autistic people. 

    Additionally, you can find more information about seeking a job, and about your rights in work here: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/employment 

    Finally, you might like to have a look at our guide ‘Support at work – a guide for autistic people’ which you can find here: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/employment/support-at-work/autistic-adults  There is information in the guide which might help you consider the pros and cons of disclosing your diagnosis once emplyment has been obtained.

    Hope that helps,

    SarahMod

     

  • A summer job I'm not so sure; but after uni, has he considered a PhD? I might be able to suggest some summer projects for his free time over summer. What's his degree in?

  • Thank you for the suggestions I will look at these.

  • Degree is in Biomedicine. I am sure he will want to do further study after his degree as that’s where he is most comfortable.

  • That's very cool! In that case, it might be very nice for him to do something science-related like an internship in a lab- it's fun and also a great experience if he is hoping to pursue a career in science :). 

    (I'm probably biased though as I studied natural sciences (mainly neurobiology) and I did a lot of summer internships in labs which I loved.) 

  • Start his own business around the things he loves 

  • Some uni labs will let undergrads intern over summer but they normal take final years. He could try some bioinformatics / systems biology over the summer. Being mostly computational and open source you can learn the ropes for free on most decent modern computers. There is an entire course from last year online on youtube https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLW1k467x_yzgIJ8pb7F_Rdy5qFCN02_xA . Or one on modelling tissues at the cellular level in 3d here youtube.com/playlist

  • Kitchen work and retail I guess stuff with as little responsibility due to less anxiety I find works best for me I'm a kitchen assistant just wash up it's boring phyical labour but it's manageable. Depends on how saver his autism since we're all different on the spectrum. My dream job would of been art but realistically the industry is to competitive. People will be unrealistic and be like accountant work computer science but we're not all mathematical genuises. Maybe part time in a kitchen granted a lot of chefs are ass holes but he'll develop thicker skin for it. It's also pure routine which is ideal for Autistic mind set as I thrive off routine anyway but what works for me might not work for the rest but a suggestion anywa. 

  • Large retailers and supermarkets are good where disability is concerned, as they don’t discriminate. They also cry out for youngsters over summer and the seasonal times of year. The work is basic, and easy to pick up, whether it’s replenishing stock, serving tables in the cafe or picking an order. Depending in the job, there might be very little customer contact, and due to his age, he would be able to work late or early shifts, which the 16-17yr olds cannot do.

    Other than that, you could try reaching out to the local community. People are always happy to help, and often seem to ‘know someone who knows someone’ that needs help….