Transitioning into adulthood is not easy for anyone, so you can expect it to be especially challenging for autistic adults.
However, with the right resources for autistic adults, you can help prepare them for what they will be up against.
With preparation comes success, so let’s get right into it. Here’s how to provide support for adults with autism.
Alternate Paths for Adults With Autism
We previously wrote an article about transitioning to an adult as a college-bound student. This article will deal with other routes a young adult might take after high school.
For example, some autistic adults may enter the workforce directly after high school. Others may go on to live on their own via assisted living programs.
There are other paths an adult with autism may take after high school, which is why this article will discuss tips for adults who are not college-bound.
Tips for Independent Living for Autistic Adults
While these tips are geared towards providing support for adults with autism, virtually anyone reading this can benefit from following the same advice.
Turn Obsessive Interests into Useful Abilities
One way for an adult with autism to find a career they will both enjoy and excel at is to turn obsessive interests into abilities that can help others.
An autistic adult who is enamored with photography could start a freelance photography business. Another autistic adult who obsessively micromanages their money could get a job in finance — and so on.
Learn Basic Work Abilities
It’s important for autistic adults to learn the basics of going to work before entering the workforce. This is something parents and educators can help with as well.
There are some unwritten rules we all follow at work, which need to be explicitly written out to autistic adults. Here are some examples:
- Get to work on time and maintain a strict schedule
- Good manners like “please” and “thank you” go a long way
- Develop good grooming and self-care abilities. Always go to work looking your best
- If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification
- Show respect, be humble, and be willing to work your way up
- Be friendly and get along with coworkers, but try to stay away from constantly discussing your special interests
- Try new things because they could lead to new opportunities
As you can see, everyone can benefit from developing these habits at work, but it’s especially important to make these things clear to adults with autism.
Tips for Parents and Educators
Abilities and habits developed early in life can follow you into adulthood. With that said, there is much that parents and educators can do to help adults with autism prepare for independent living.
Understand that people with autism often have uneven developments. They may be gifted in math but have poor drawing abilities, for example. Determine what an individual’s strengths are and nurture them.
If a child or young adult with autism enjoys doing things like playing video games, browsing the web, or watching TV — try to limit those activities and encourage something more productive.
Instead, turn those idle activities into opportunities to develop new abilities. If the individual enjoys being on the web, encourage them to learn how to build a website or how to program an app.
Support for Adults With Autism: Conclusion
The key to providing support for adults with autism is to help prepare them before, not when, they reach adulthood. For more information please see our other resources, including: