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Many of the resources available for Autism and other developmental disabilities focus on children to the age of eighteen. Very few social service programs are geared to support people over the age of eighteen. So what about these young adults?

What career development assistance is available? What are the goals of formal career or vocational development planning? When should career planning begin? What are the life choices that an individual with Autism should explore?

Person-centered planning  (PCP) can help answer these questions.  PCP “takes a longer-term perspective, exploring how the individual, family, community, and funded supports can work together to achieve the individual’s goals,” (Northeast Alberta Community Board for Persons with Development Disabilities, 2006).

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This sets a plan of action in place. It is very important to plan ahead and be prepared for the transition into early adulthood to foster the best chance of a satisfying and productive life for young adults with autism.

Here are some strategies that may be set in place to prepare your young adult for his/her future (Autism Calgary Association, 2009):

  • A personal inventory/profile clarifies the strengths, challenges, and necessary supports that the individual requires. It also provides the individual’s unique characteristics and attributes.
  • A career profile lists the individual’s personal strengths, skills, abilities, and interests. It may also include: evaluation reports (IEPs), cognitive testing results, additional assessments (e.g. neuropsychological), functional vocational assessments, and resume and work samples.
  • A psycho-educational assessment is a standardized test (like an I.Q. test), of the individual’s cognitive ability. It provides further information of the person’s intellectual strengths and areas of weakness.

The key to remember is to plan ahead and to use available resources and people to develop the best plan possible. When this is done, possibilities and opportunities are increased for the young adult.

Discover How To Play It Well

Receiving the confirmation of the diagnosis that our child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder brings with it a wide array of emotional and cognitive upheaval.  There may be initial shock, disbelief and even denial, often quickly followed by the common stages of grief and grieving.  Moving through the initial stages of grieving, parents may then shift, with intentional effort, to discover the possibilities and opportunities that children with Autism can have and offer… yes offer.

Parenting a child who follow the “normal” or most common developmental pathway versus one with developmental difficulties is a significantly different experience, one that many parents who have a child with ASD can attest to. Focus, attention, and time investments are higher for parents caring effectively for children with Autism (e.g. parents report it feels a lot like “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”… even into the teen and young adult years).

Government funded programs have become filled to capacity and the waiting list is often not months but years long. Some families have to secure second or third mortgages for private therapy. When this resource is not financially or practically possible, the responsibility lies with parents to train, teach, and implement every aspect of social and life skills for their children. Finding coaching for themselves, the resources and materials to assist their work with the children becomes another challenge tapping into parents’ energy stores.

So it is a different ball game! This struggle can become overwhelming; at times, exhausting and consistently stressful for the entire family. As much as there are resources to help children with autism (i.e., personal support workers, weekend relief programs, and some daycare services), there are few programs that help and support parents sufficiently.

At Jeff Packer MSW & Associates, we can help parents;

(1)   find new and creative ways to not just cope with life difficulties, but to excel at the game

(2)   by coaching you to design and practise a winning family relationship strategy, and

(3)   develop and maintain your essential support systems

To secure guidance and support for your parenting plan, Call us today … YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Did you know…

  1. Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys (March 2012 statistic)
  2. The 2012 numbers reflect a 78% increase in reported prevalence in the last 6 years
  3. Boys are 4x more likely than girls to have autism

Contact us to find out how Jeff Packer MSW & Associates can help families and children with Autism.