Practical Employment Tips for Parents

How You Can Help Your Child Find and Keep Employment 

As a parent, you may often worry about your son or daughter’s future - especially when it comes to employment. 

Having a job or a career often does not come easily to many adults on the autism spectrum. The following information will give you guidance on how to support your son or daughter during the journey for employment. 

Your role can include: 

  • Helping your son or daughter figure out their strengths and challenges 

  • Encouraging your son or daughter to contact their local vocational rehabilitation office  

  • Helping them network 

  • Teaching them how to advocate for themselves 

  • Giving them encouragement 

  • Helping them find out what their rights are for employment 

Remember: Parents have more knowledge about their son or daughter’s skills, strengths, and challenges than anyone else. This information is often overlooked because those skills have been seen at home, at school or in the community but not necessarily at a job. 

It will be helpful to work with your son or daughter to assist them in finding out and writing down their strengths, talents, and challenges. They will need this skill to speak to their vocational rehabilitation counselor or anyone else who is working with your son or daughter in helping them to find employment.  

Developing Skills 

Encourage learning “soft skills” at home and at school. These skills should include:  

  • "Active" listening 

  • Speaking at the right times 

  • Using good manners at meal times 

  • Problem-solving 

  • Time management 

  • Teamwork 

  • Communicating in your most effective way 

Remember: The development of self-advocacy skills is critical to your son or daughter successfully entering adulthood and obtaining employment.  

Important! 

  • Appropriate hygiene is required on most job sites. Being clean and professional can determine success and failure during the interview and on the job. 

  • Learning how to handle conflict is critical. Practice and plan for this skill. You can do this through role-playing or modeling. 

  • Planning for transportation to and from the job site is crucial. Helping your son or daughter to access public or private transportation is very important. 

  • Safety skills training in the community is essential. Information on safety skills training can be found on our website here: Autism Safety Project. 

Supported Employment 

Supported employment is a service that can help an individual keep employment.  

Remember: It is important to research supported employment providers in your area and to help your son or daughter figure out the support options that are most helpful for him/her. Your state vocational rehabilitation program can assist you with the process of finding a service provider. 

Other Employment Supports 

Job coaches, co-workers, supervisors, and mentors have all been used as employment supports for people with autism. To read more about employment supports, check out: 

There are other resources in your local community that can provide support. One valuable resource is the Centers for Independent Living. Centers for Independent Living (CILs) provide services to help individuals with disabilities obtain independence. These centers provide several services including, advocacy, independent living skills training, information and referral, and peer counseling. 

Find the Center for Independent Living in your area.

Remember: Services for adults are based on whether a person is eligible for services and whether there is money available from the state or federal government. Services for adults are not entitlements.  

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.