Vocational Possibilities for High-Functioning Adults with Autism
A continuum of vocational options is needed to meet the wide variety of vocational needs of adults with autism. Just as various educational settings are needed, from the highly structured and specialized to complete mainstreaming, vocational settings follow the same continuum. Sheltered workshops that serve as training and work sites for many developmentally disabled adults represent the most specialized option. Competitive employment in regular jobs in the community is at the other end of the continuum. Given the nature of autism, the most successful options are likely to be ones developed with the autistic individual in mind and where there is some degree of continuous support. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the factors critical to successful employment and two vocational options being developed in North Carolina—supported employment, and the integrated vocational and residential program of the Carolina Living and Learning Center. The vocational models described include the job coach, enclave, mobile crew, and small-business models of supported employment, as well as a model where the vocational program is physically and programmatically integrated with the residential program. Each of these programs will be discussed in terms of the critical elements, and relative strengths and weaknesses, of the model.
KeywordsResidential Program Autistic Child Autistic Individual Competitive Employment Vocational Program
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