- Social and communication skills,
- Self-management and time-management,
- Problem-solving and coping skills, and
- Navigation skills.
In the social and communication domain, global employment skills that a person with autism will need are work place social skills, such as greeting others, awareness and respect of others' personal space, appropriate touch for the workplace (e.g., handshakes may appropriate, while hugs may not), and voice volume. It is also important for individuals to have a mode of communication that employers and co-workers will easily understand. Some ideas that the person with autism will need a way to communicate include:
- "I don't understand. Can you show me?"
- "I need help."
- "I'm finished." and
- "I need a break."
In terms of self-management and time-management, individuals with autism frequently excel when expectations are very clear and understandable to them. However, many employment settings may not have this degree of structure, so teaching skills that help the person with autism learn how to plan and manage their time may be beneficial to teach. Some workplace time management issues that a person with autism may need to self-manage are how fast to complete tasks, when to take breaks (including lunch break), and what to do when you complete a task. For more information on teaching self-management skills to individuals with autism, please see past issues of Positively Autism's newsletter here and here.
It's also important to practice coping and problem-solving skills. We'll talk more about this in upcoming blog posts, but basic problem-solving steps include: identifying the problem, exploring the options, and deciding on the best option.
Navigation skills relate to finding your way around the physical work space. Knowing how to find restrooms, break rooms, elevators, and other important areas in the work building can help workers be more independent and less anxious on the job.
In upcoming blog posts, we'll discuss more about how to teach these skills.
Employment Planning for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Norm Dahl, Ph.D. and Alan Arici, M.ED. Published in 2008. http://www.autismhandbook.org/images/7/72/Employment_Planning_for_People_with_Autism_Spectrum_Disorders.pdf