Individuals who have a mild degree of Autism may be able to hold a job. Young adults ready to work should find a place whose boss will understand the social limitations and have a well-defined goal as part of the job. Some adults may have a job where they don’t need any support offered from the work environment. Others however may require support from the community with a job that was especially designed for them. Contacting certain agencies such as state employment offices, state departments of vocational rehabilitation, social services offices, mental health departments, and disability-specific organizations may be able to help look for the right employment.
Full time and part time employment
Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules “work incentives.”
Specialized employment programs:
Autism 101, Community Training Program:
Pennsylvania Autism Census projects the number of adults living with Autism will reach over 58,000 by 2025. Up to 85% of autistic adults with a college education are unemployed, and over 70% of adults with Autism are unemployed or underemployed.
- Community training program for local businesses and/or organizations to increase understanding and acceptance to best support individuals with Autism and their families in our community.
- Contact Information:
Tish Bartlett, Executive Director
Jobs for Visual Thinkers
- Computer programming
- Commercial art
- Equipment design
- Veterinary technician
- Automobile mechanic
- Computer repair
- Small appliance repairs
- Laboratory technician
- Web page design
- Video game designer
- Building maintenance
- Computer animation
Jobs for Non Visual Thinkers
- Library science
- Computer programming
- Copy editor
- Taxi driver
- Inventory control
- Tuning musical instruments
- Laboratory technician
- Bank teller
- Clerk/filing jobs
- Physicist or Mathematician
New Information Review
Employment plays a pivotal role in adulthood. By using appropriate services and support and taking advantage of an individual’s strengths and abilities, employment is attainable for most adults who experience Autism. Planning for future employment should be part of every child’s life plan and career pathways should be expected in adulthood. There are stereotypes around which types of jobs are “good” for people who experience Autism, but these are simply stereotypes. Adults with Autism are represented in every profession.
When planning for employment, it’s helpful to connect with your local Autism Society affiliate and/or Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (can be found online), which has representation in each state and territory in the United States and can be found online. The state vocational rehabilitation agency assists people with Autism and other disabilities to prepare for and engage in employment. This agency has resources and connections to meet your career goals, whether you need education prior to employment, a communication aide, or a job coach, they can be a great resource.
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Data is emerging that demonstrates adults with Autism are chronically underemployed. For support in securing and maintaining employment, there are many agencies that can help. These include state employment offices, vocational rehabilitation departments, social services offices, mental health departments, and disability-specific organizations. Many of these agencies, as well as other valuable services and support, can be found in the Autism Society’s nationwide online database, Autism Source™. Search or call today to find programs in your area!
- The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are ready and willing to work is typically twice that of the general non-disabled working population. See the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment status of civilian population chart.
- Nearly 42% of young adults who experience Autism never worked for pay during their early 20s.
- 58% of workplace accommodations cost absolutely nothing, while the remaining typically cost approximately $500.
- More than 66% of young adults on the Autism spectrum are unemployed and are not engaged in higher education 2 years after exiting high school.
Find Your Strengths
It’s not always a clear-cut choice when you’re thinking about what you’d like to do in a job or career, whether or not you have ASD. It takes time and planning- maybe even school or a training program- to be ready for a job.
Walk Through Your ASD Sensitivities
Once you’ve been offered a job and accepted it, your next challenge is to learn the job itself, and to understand what will be required of you when you’re working. This is the time when you might notice your own sensitivities, physical or emotional, within the environment of your workplace. Think carefully about what would make it easier for you to work well, and then let your boss (or your on-the-job, if you have one) know what changes might be beneficial. Things that other people don’t even notice might feel strange or disturbing to people with ASD. There are often simple ways to remove stress triggers and help you stay calm and focused on your tasks.
Ideas to Help
- Bright lights: wear tinted glasses or a hat with a brim; replace fluorescent bulbs with LEDs; use flat screen monitors to avoid flickering
- Sounds: wear earplugs; listen to music through headphones; have a fan; turn down the ringtone on your phone
- Smell: chew peppermint or cinnamon gum; ask coworkers to not use perfumes or colognes
- Visual distractions: place your desk facing a wall instead of a hallway; create a work space that is not in a high-traffic area; take separate breaks away from your team if necessary