Susan's Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Autism Works Thoughts I

Here, so far, are my Autism Works thoughts. This is what I believe is needed thus far, as the mother of a child not yet in the workplace but with less than 5 years to go under the IDEA.

1) A blueprint for parents: What to do and When to do it. A timeline of action items like guardianship, trusts, SSI, meeting with appropriate agencies, finding a vendor, finding DayHab, when and how to talk to potential employers, what job training should be on the IEP starting when. Should be made available on line and at various obvious places.
2) An amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act: an extension of the IDEA entitlements into adulthood for the purpose of increasing employment of DD adults. Anyone with an IEP who stays in school up until 22 has the option of obtaining a job coach, job training, travel training, and other supports necessary for working. The federal government should make the following the law and appropriate funding necessary immediately:
A. Employers should be encouraged (i.e., compensated) for taking workshops on adapting the workplace for the developmentally disabled.
B. Colleges and universities ought to offer credits to students going into the fields of therapy, psychology, medicine, education, and any other course of study relevant, who work during a semester as a one-on-one with a DD adult as a Personal Care Attendant or Job Coach.
C. High schools should all consider offering Best Buddies programs and community service credits to students who buddy up with DD peers.


Here’s something to add to the list.

Tax credits for employers for hireing the DD. They could get the full credit for employees completing 6 months and one year of employment, and half credit for the following 12 months.

— added by Club 166 on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:19 pm

From my legal perspective:

In addition to 1, including power of attorneys, healthcare power of attorneys, wills that plan for the specifically for child and child’s needs.

Very good start! 🙂

— added by I Wax Poetic on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Looks like a great start. I’ll be following your ideas and progress closely. We sure need something here in Canada.

— added by mumkeepingsane on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Good start. I can’t seem to email you from your site, so if you do need help, I’ll just have to get my computer nerd hubby to figure something out. 😉

One caveat, you’re going to have a rough time getting the whole “incentives” thing pushed through for businesses to hire. Does that sort of thing exist now for hiring people with other disabilities? I’m just thinking like my husband, who is very much the fiscal right- winger, to the point he’s against filing for SSI for our son (don’t get me started…).

— added by ASDmomNC on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 11:08 pm

Did you happen to catch the news that the VT shooter was diagnosed as autistic at age 8, but his parents couldn’t afford treatment? Article:–&method;=full&objectid;=18931479&siteid;=89520-name_page.html

— added by ASDmomNC on Friday, April 20, 2007 at 8:52 am

On employment issues, how about:

+ Outreach and education of corporate HR people and hiring managers about how to accomodate autistic potential employees and leverage their job-related abilities, and about developing variations on the interview and hiring processes that do not filter out autistic potential employees on the basis of irrelevant stumbling blocks

+ Develop practical guidelines for accommodations — both ergonomic accommodations (lighting, noise, other sources of sensory distress and distraction) and social/communication accommodations (restructuring team-building activities so that they are meaningful and inclusive of autistic employees; rethinking the proportion of communication done in meetings, 1:1 face-to-face, via e-mail, etc.; developing proactive diversity training that is effective on issues facing autistic employees, including subtle forms of adult bullying)

Great if you can get folks like Peter Gerhardt involved. On a local Boston level, it might make sense to talk to the vocational support/placement folks at Jeremy’s program (LABBB).

Also try to get working autistic adults and adults on the spectrum who’ve gone into professional fields relevant to employment and workplace issues involved.

Joel Smith ( is a good autistic source to begin with, on some of this. He’s developed and his management has implemented a number of communication accommodations that are relevant for a wide swath of the spectrum. Occupational therapist Sue Golubock, M.Ed., OTR/L, and rehabilitation counselor Jim Sinclair, MS ( are additional resources from within the autistic community.

I’d also talk to folks in the Autism National Committee ( community. There may be more shared wisdom there regarding employment and workplace issues. I can help make connections there, now that I am on AutCom’s board.

— added by Phil Schwarz on Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 1:26 am