Employment for a disabled son

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mrsbetsy
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Employment for a disabled son

Post by mrsbetsy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:39 pm

We have a 21 year old disabled son with autism. I keep thinking there just has to be something he can do. I'm wondering about how to start a little microbusiness with him. He still lives at home. He is conserved. He is verbal, gentle, and kind, but just presents as "odd".

Currently, he gets $910 a month disability and MediCAL (Medicaid for the rest of the country).

We have a special needs trust set up for him and will be opening an ABLE account once they go live at the end of the year.

We are 57 and 61 years old and in excellent health. We have a 1MM term life policy on each of us that expires in 7 more years.

Current assets are about 2MM.

He has an competent 27 year old sister who will be executor upon our death. While she loves him, she has honestly stated that upon our death, he cannot live with her but she will make sure he is cared for. Our estate is set to split evenly between them. His half goes into the special needs trust and her half goes into a family trust. She has a long term boyfriend but will likely never marry or have children.

I was thinking there must be something he can do. Perhaps learn to grow seedlings and sell the plants in our local community. Anyone in a similar situation and have advice? We've worked with the Department of Rehabilitation, but it seems a typical job is a bit beyond his cognitive ability.

We've always positioned our decisions with the intent to preserve government services, but now I'm rethinking that because we see some capabilities. Just not sure what that might look like.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:49 pm

Listen to your son as far as what he likes and doesn't like. Autism is a spectrum, not a single point. Look for jobs that fit what he likes and stays away from what he doesn't like. Someone on the high end of the spectrum can complete an advanced degree and do the stress analysis calculations for a rocket. But won't ever want to have to present his findings to a group or participate in team activities of any kind if they have a choice. Find his strengths. If he's able, ask him to do some research on the kinds of jobs available, what they entail and what he'd fit doing.
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Rupert
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by Rupert » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:49 pm

Have you looked at how much private or commercial health insurance would cost him if he loses his eligibility for government benefits? That's the kicker, unfortunately.

mrsbetsy
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mrsbetsy » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:52 pm

His IQ is <70 so he is limited in his capabilities.

He could do something like plant seedlings and with help sell them. But, he cannot count money or make change.

Insurance is a good consideration because he has epilepsy too and takes 2 expensive medicines for seizures that are covered under MediCAL and he is able to use UCSF for doctors.

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tyrion
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by tyrion » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:03 pm

With disability benefits and your asset level, I would worry less about finding him a paying job and more about finding something he enjoys doing that can provide meaning to his life. If he likes planting seedlings, great.

RickBoglehead
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:08 pm

There are businesses designed to effectively utilize people like your son, i.e. allowing him to find fulfillment and the business to provide that fulfillment.

My suggestion, having no experience in this area, would be to contact businesses that do this with the intent of finding one locally.

https://www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com/

https://www.seedsforautism.org/

https://www.colettacollections.com/page ... washington

https://www.spectrumdesigns.org/

http://www.sweetheatjam.com/#he-proposed

sailaway
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by sailaway » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:10 pm

tyrion wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:03 pm
With disability benefits and your asset level, I would worry less about finding him a paying job and more about finding something he enjoys doing that can provide meaning to his life. If he likes planting seedlings, great.
This. Does your son like planting seedlings? How would he help sell them if he can't handle money? Who would count the money if you weren't there?

If he does like planting, perhaps it would be better to get him involved in a community garden, where he may build a couple of relationships. Or a local nursery may be willing to work out an apprenticeship for him.

CFOKevin
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by CFOKevin » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:13 pm

mrsbetsy,

Your situation is similar to ours. We are both 57 and have four kids. Our daughter who is 26 has developmental disabilities and a similar IQ to your son. We moved from CA when she was little to find a location with better adult services. However, as you know, services vary quite a bit by county in CA.

Our daughter has two jobs and her similarly situated peers have similar set ups. Most businesses have work that needs doing and those with disabilities (with and without job coaches) are proven to be dependable, hard workers who typically stay at their jobs for 5 or more years (vs. 18 months or less for their typically developing peers).

Restaurants, hotels, govt offices and retail establishments are possible employers and most positions are 12-20 hours per week. Self employment that I've seen work includes art and craft work, buying and selling on ebay, a personal shopping service and yardwork/household help.

As far as benefits go, learn about the DAC benefit under SS and make sure your son's earnings never exceed the threshold in order to keep him qualified. And, it is never too early to be thinking about independent living possibilities. Our daughter moved out 2.5 years ago into an apartment with a caregiver/roommate and it has been very good for the whole family.

Good luck,

Kevin

shorty313
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by shorty313 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:42 pm

Our child with autism is still in elementary, but I’ve been keeping my eye on a few local organizations that specifically employ the disabled. We have two in our area, one is a local vineyard and the other is a manufacturing plant that bundles packages/parts for vinyl fencing for local home improvement stores.

The disabled young woman up the street works as a bagger at the local grocery store and appears to enjoy it when I see her there.

rxv
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by rxv » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:19 pm

Spouse and I are both 48 and our only son, 17, is on the autism spectrum and has hearing loss. We have been so focused on getting thru one day at a time that haven't thought about what the future holds. He likes Math (pretty good) and Music so we are hoping he goes to college next year but it's an unknown. Even if he gets a degree what will that mean (of course personal achievement).
I can tell that a typical corporate life can be very challenging even for someone with "milder" autism. Our son is not competitive and like most kids on the spectrum, very gentle, laid back and honest. Great qualities for a human being, not so much in corporate America.
Thanks for some of the suggestions on this thread. Just spoke with DW that we need to start planning (special needs trust, government benefits, etc.).

Good Listener
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by Good Listener » Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:58 pm

Doesnt the state or locality have employment opportunities for autisitic and other handicapped people? Even better, is he eligible or able to get on the waiting list for a group home as that may provide both residential and employment opportunities? You may not like the sound of a group home but with that IQ I assume he can never live independently and you will not be here forever.

123
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by 123 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:22 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:58 pm
...is he eligible or able to get on the waiting list for a group home as that may provide both residential and employment opportunities? You may not like the sound of a group home but with that IQ I assume he can never live independently and you will not be here forever.
+1 A group home or assisted living placement is something that needs serious consideration. The older he gets the more difficult the transistion will be. We have family friends that were in the same kind of situation. They found that the assisted living situation worked better than staying at home. It provided the child some sense of having grown up and eased the role of the parents. When they spend time together, including going out to eat and other excursions, they can all enjoy the moment, the burdens of daily care are gone.
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btenny
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by btenny » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:28 pm

My cousins grandson has autism and works at the post office. His brother is a carrier and got him the job. I am not sure what he does but he works at the main post office. I suspect he does some repetitive sorting and putting things away.

The Fry's grocery store in Phoenix near my house has an arrangement with the disabled school in town north of the store. They have 5-10 workers who do grocery bagging and other stuff around the store. The kids and adults are pretty nice. They ride the bus from their group home to Fry's and get off at bus stop right there. I am not sure who does the training and so forth but it seem like the program works well for all involved.

Check around. I bet there are programs like these in your area.
Good Luck.

JBTX
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:12 pm

rxv wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:19 pm
Spouse and I are both 48 and our only son, 17, is on the autism spectrum and has hearing loss. We have been so focused on getting thru one day at a time that haven't thought about what the future holds. He likes Math (pretty good) and Music so we are hoping he goes to college next year but it's an unknown. Even if he gets a degree what will that mean (of course personal achievement).
I can tell that a typical corporate life can be very challenging even for someone with "milder" autism. Our son is not competitive and like most kids on the spectrum, very gentle, laid back and honest. Great qualities for a human being, not so much in corporate America.
Thanks for some of the suggestions on this thread. Just spoke with DW that we need to start planning (special needs trust, government benefits, etc.).
We have 14 year old, I would say “low high functioning”, and the main issue I see is not lack of ability, which is an issue, but more a lack of interest in doing anything except the couple of things he wants to do which really don’t seem terribly marketable.

There are some programs and resources available in high school and after that may help but we aren’t holding our breath.

We have many similarities to OP situation except we are 7 years behind them.

JoinToday
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by JoinToday » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:39 pm

As an aside (and I don't know how to tactfully ask this): how much are disabled (autistic) people paid? Are there provisions or programs that allow employers to pay people below minimum wage?

The reason I ask this is (generally) employers hire people if the employees are profitable. If an employer needs to pay someone $15 and hour, but they only add $5 or $8 per hour of value or income to the company, there is no incentive for the employer to hire people (other than charity). The higher the minimum wage, the more people at the lower end of the productivity scale won't find work.

Here is a video where a market employee let a disabled teen help stock the refrigerator case. The teen was so happy. Extremely touching. This did not profit the store, but was generous of the employee.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyIRwJt1qZw
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JGoneRiding
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by JGoneRiding » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 pm

Yes there are programs in every (most?) state to pay the disabled a below min wage. Businesses have to be will g to work with them though.

There should be what's called a community assistance program for your area (start with the phone book) this places have job training and programs and or offer low skill work (in our area one of them collects all the recycle and sorts). We have a tiny county and 2 organizations exist. They are charitable but get most of their money via government grants.

Island John
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by Island John » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 pm

As a step toward finding a regular job, have you considered some volunteer work? For example, at a food bank or animal shelter? You might also consider doing it with him. It might be a step toward developing job skills and give you a sense of how your son would handle a more structured environment like a workplace.

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Alexa9
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by Alexa9 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:37 pm

I'd suggest volunteering and exploring his interests more. I'd also find a support group and a therapist. Being around people his age is important for social health.

aerofreaky11
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by aerofreaky11 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:49 pm

It sounds like your son will benefit from a recent psych and social evaluation. Take this to your state office for people with disabilities. He will need to communicate (not you) job ideas and see what they can do. Training opportunities, job coaches, and supported (workshop) model jobs are all a possibility. In NY, we call it the OPWDD formerly OMRDD. Likely, they will pair him with an agency, think Goodwill, but a more appropriate fit for your son's needs.

Push, get the "appointments" and push him to tell you his wants and desires. If he makes it to the CA version of ACCESS-VR, they will possibly make the parents wait outside, so practice practice and use cues and notes in his preferred method of communication that will enable him to get his desires out effectively.

I have worked in this field for many years and think this is a good place to start. I'm disappointed his school didn't transition him into something appropriate. It shouldn't happen like this.

2015
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by 2015 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:10 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:49 pm
Listen to your son as far as what he likes and doesn't like. Autism is a spectrum, not a single point. Look for jobs that fit what he likes and stays away from what he doesn't like. Someone on the high end of the spectrum can complete an advanced degree and do the stress analysis calculations for a rocket. But won't ever want to have to present his findings to a group or participate in team activities of any kind if they have a choice. Find his strengths. If he's able, ask him to do some research on the kinds of jobs available, what they entail and what he'd fit doing.
I strongly agree with that finding out the son's likes and dislikes is critical when it comes to finding suitable employment matches. Autism is indeed a spectrum and not a single point. I have been coaching a "high functioning" individual with ASD for over 5 years and I have learned that in order to make progress with a person with ASD a neurotypical must make every effort to see every aspect of life through that person's eyes. Doing so does not come natural to neurotypicals, particularly in a society that offers virtually no support for persons with ASD.

Persons with ASD often have intense interest in a subject of some kind, but that doesn't mean that the interest can't be broadened through coaxing. The area of intense interest is often an excellent springboard for some kind of work, although it takes a high degree patience, creativity, and diligence on the part of the person supporting the ASD individual. To me it's worth it, because people with ASD bring a special gift of innocence and honesty to the world that I personally find was long ago lost on neurotypicals.

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by eye.surgeon » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:14 pm

In a similar situation with a 17 yr old autistic son and two older unaffected siblings who are high achievers. One of the challenges of employment for these kids on disability is their earnings will count against their SSI and Medi-Cal eligibility to some degree. The earnings have to be quite minimal in order for it not to be counter-productive financially.

It's tough having this discussion with those who don't have autistic kids. Many people view autism as being a slow learner or even a savant disorder. I can't tell you how many people have asked me what his gifted skill is like they expect him to be able to count cards or do complex math in his head. Thanks, Hollywood. Others see reports of "autistic" adults with graduate degrees and even medical degrees, who obviously do not have autism. Keep in mind my son needs help brushing his teeth and can on a good day tell someone his phone number. There is no way he could bag groceries or do any task for an extended period without constant supervision and encouragement. He is, however, a very happy and fulfilled child who loves to laugh and who brings much joy into our lives.

Interested in the answers we will get here.
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mags
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mags » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:53 pm

At the hospital I work at, they employ "runners" with different abilities. They pick up lab specimens through the hospital and deliver them to the lab.

VegasBH
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by VegasBH » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:34 am

I work in disability services at the university level so a different population then your son. But I am familiar with some of the supports. I would check with your local chapter of autism speaks your local arc the local Center for Independent living . Is there a parent group in your area with other parents that are trying to do the same things you are? A lot of the really innovative things that are being done are highly localized so it’s hard to say without knowing where you live. Have you considered trying to find a supported living arrangement or group home at this point? if you’re going to end up needing that once both of you pass away it’s probably good to start looking at things now and make the transition while you’re there to oversee it and make sure that it’s a good fit. I’m admittedly not an expert in these areas but if you ask specific questions I will reach out to my friends that work with individuals with intellectual disabilities for advice.

123
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by 123 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:26 am

Some years ago we lived in town that had a "sheltered workshop" that had articles about it in the local paper a couple of times a year. From what I recall most of their "jobs" were simple 1 or 2 step assembly projects or bagging of a couple of parts. I don't know if these kinds of places still exist, perhaps it's easier to get that kind of work done overseas. I suspect that some kinds of labor code legislation and ADA rules might actually work against the kind of special arrangements that made sheltered workshops viable.
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mouses
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:24 pm

I have seen at least one disabled person, with Down's, bagging at a local grocery store.

If you go into a "workshop" type of employment, be sure they are not taking advantage of the employees.

jminv
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by jminv » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:56 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:39 pm
We have a 21 year old disabled son with autism. I keep thinking there just has to be something he can do. I'm wondering about how to start a little microbusiness with him. He still lives at home. He is conserved. He is verbal, gentle, and kind, but just presents as "odd".

I was thinking there must be something he can do. Perhaps learn to grow seedlings and sell the plants in our local community. Anyone in a similar situation and have advice? We've worked with the Department of Rehabilitation, but it seems a typical job is a bit beyond his cognitive ability.

We've always positioned our decisions with the intent to preserve government services, but now I'm rethinking that because we see some capabilities. Just not sure what that might look like.
I have a relative with this issue and what the parents did was start a microbusiness where they did the people facing roles and then the son had a manufacturing role. I don't want say exactly what it is but the trick is to work with a hobby that one (or preferably both) of the parents is into or could get into. I am guessing that is why you brought up the seedling idea? If so, you can do a test run of it and sell the seedlings (probably small plants would be better, think about what plants people would like, I'd imagine ready to eat herbs would sell well like you can get in some grocery stores) for him at a weekend farmers market, if you have those around you. They're an ideal place to sell crafts and/or a way to monetize hobbies.

I don't think such a setup would cause problems with his benefits since it's not necessary for him to take a salary. You're teaching him a hobby (gardening) and separately you are also selling plants on a small scale on the weekends. More of something to do and you can add your earnings to his trust. It might also be something you and your husband would enjoy.

My relative wanted to work but could never find someone willing to take him on, even bagging groceries. I know people think 'grocery bagging' whenever they think of this kind of question but the truth of it is that it's not normally a position offered to a child with autism but for other disabilities, I've noticed downs especially. Anyway, the rejection from everywhere was really sad and I'm glad they were able to work something out. It's been good for him. The parents do something they like already, teach it to their kid, and also have extra spending money for him plus trust money. You can move him into the people facing role as time goes by if you want or if he'd already be good at that.

mrsbetsy
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:14 pm

eye.surgeon wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:14 pm
In a similar situation with a 17 yr old autistic son and two older unaffected siblings who are high achievers. One of the challenges of employment for these kids on disability is their earnings will count against their SSI and Medi-Cal eligibility to some degree. The earnings have to be quite minimal in order for it not to be counter-productive financially.

It's tough having this discussion with those who don't have autistic kids. Many people view autism as being a slow learner or even a savant disorder. I can't tell you how many people have asked me what his gifted skill is like they expect him to be able to count cards or do complex math in his head. Thanks, Hollywood. Others see reports of "autistic" adults with graduate degrees and even medical degrees, who obviously do not have autism. Keep in mind my son needs help brushing his teeth and can on a good day tell someone his phone number. There is no way he could bag groceries or do any task for an extended period without constant supervision and encouragement. He is, however, a very happy and fulfilled child who loves to laugh and who brings much joy into our lives.

Interested in the answers we will get here.
Yes! We have gone the Department of Rehabilitation route which included a job coach. He's had two failed placements. One would think that retrieving grocery carts or bagging would be a lower level skill, but it was a complete disaster. Too many people wanting him to do too many tasks and he was completely overwhelmed. "When you retrieve carts, take no more than 5 and no less than 2." Well, when there are 6 carts in the parking lot, what does he do? Sweeping the backroom is great until the cashiers order him over the loud speaker to help come bag. Then the person who told him to sweep is mad. The last thing came when a kid puked in the vegetable aisle, He cleaned it up just fine, but the when the mom gave him a $10 tip for being kind and helping out, it went against the company policy about accepting tips and they fired him. I think they were just looking for a reason.

He was doing some janitorial work at a McDonalds but one day when it was busier than usual because school got out early and it because inundated with teenagers, he couldn't manage it.

He is capable in so many ways, but I'm thinking a microbusiness of some kind where he is able to work and take breaks as needed and not get overwhelmed would be a possibility.

mrsbetsy
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:02 pm

[/quote]

I have a relative with this issue and what the parents did was start a microbusiness where they did the people facing roles and then the son had a manufacturing role. I don't want say exactly what it is but the trick is to work with a hobby that one (or preferably both) of the parents is into or could get into. I am guessing that is why you brought up the seedling idea?
[/quote]

Yes, that is what I'm thinking. We own a business and he can work in it in an extremely limited way because he doesn't do well with customer interface.
The tasks he can do take him less than 5 hours a week.

His interests are not marketable.

Once he understands a process, he can repeat the process but novel situations that require anything remotely complex are challenging.

stoptothink
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by stoptothink » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:15 pm

2015 wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:10 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:49 pm
Listen to your son as far as what he likes and doesn't like. Autism is a spectrum, not a single point. Look for jobs that fit what he likes and stays away from what he doesn't like. Someone on the high end of the spectrum can complete an advanced degree and do the stress analysis calculations for a rocket. But won't ever want to have to present his findings to a group or participate in team activities of any kind if they have a choice. Find his strengths. If he's able, ask him to do some research on the kinds of jobs available, what they entail and what he'd fit doing.
I strongly agree with that finding out the son's likes and dislikes is critical when it comes to finding suitable employment matches. Autism is indeed a spectrum and not a single point. I have been coaching a "high functioning" individual with ASD for over 5 years and I have learned that in order to make progress with a person with ASD a neurotypical must make every effort to see every aspect of life through that person's eyes. Doing so does not come natural to neurotypicals, particularly in a society that offers virtually no support for persons with ASD.

Persons with ASD often have intense interest in a subject of some kind, but that doesn't mean that the interest can't be broadened through coaxing. The area of intense interest is often an excellent springboard for some kind of work, although it takes a high degree patience, creativity, and diligence on the part of the person supporting the ASD individual. To me it's worth it, because people with ASD bring a special gift of innocence and honesty to the world that I personally find was long ago lost on neurotypicals.
I am on the spectrum myself and am very involved in the autism community in our area (regular speaker at autism conferences, write a blog which focuses on relationships involving those on the ASD spectrum, doing collaborative research with 2 local universities and an ASD-focused school, have been a mentor for several ASD teens...). Can't agree more with this. My area of intense interest was always science - particularly exercise physiology and nutrition science - but I have broadened it over the last several years to include pretty much all areas of science.

mrsbetsy
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Re: Employment for a disabled son

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:41 pm

stoptothink,

You are clearly an accomplished and highly functional person. My son could never compose such a message as you've written.

Thank you for the insight and we will definitely make sure he has a big say in his next steps.

Mrs.Betsy

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