According to several estimates, one in every 68 children in the US is diagnosed of autism spectrum disorder. While early intervention programs are increasingly helping a greater number of people to attain their potential, land gainful employment, and live independently, still a huge group of individuals on the spectrum remain outside the job training and employment ambit.
Autism is a complex disorder which is marked by difficulties in nonverbal and verbal communication and social interactions. People with autism often show repetitive behavior and all these make it difficult for them to function and work in a typical office environment.
Job training programs can be of a great help for people on the autism spectrum. Such programs usually include instructors, mentors, and job coaches. Some programs offer hands-on training in various companies so that the trainees can acquire practical skills.
Many companies have started to make accommodations for helping people on the spectrum in their job training programs. These include using pictures in the teaching sessions, extra help to navigate social interactions, and forging a sense on oneness among the staff. For instance, coworkers are encouraged to have lunch with the trainees on the spectrum.
Job training programs for people with autism often begin with the very basics like using a laptop, sending emails, and doing common office work.