Autism and the First Job

Autism and the First Job

That’s right. My eighteen-year-old son with autism has a real job.

How did he get it?

Through a school work program that assists young adults with special needs with work experience.

He had this exact same job lined up a few days before the 2020 pandemic shut down. He was all ready to go to his interview! That got canceled.

So did most of the rest of the year.

What happened in 2021?

In the spring, I began to communicate with the high school about the lost job (and the job program).

It was slow going, but eventually it looked like the job opportunities would come around post-graduation.

By early June, it looked like my son would be employed by the end of the month or early July.

That turned out to be accurate.

Where does he work?

He works at a retail store in a town near us.

He’s only working four hours a day/twenty hours a week.

It is considered part time work. In addition, he is a student employee, not a “regular” employee.

Still, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get him work-related experience.

In other words, just like a typical young adult, he works a summer job that will earn him some money and allow him to gain valuable experience.

What about college?

The job (the twenty hours a week) is set for one month.

After that, my son, the program director, and the retail manager will have a discussion about moving forward. We are hoping that he can continue with some hours while also at college.

How is his experience so far?

He has enjoyed it. I call him a “grunt worker,” an employee that can carry heavy items, stock products, and sweep the floor. He’s not allowed to handle money.

He has had to learn a few things. The manager had to ask him to make a few minor adjustments. Nothing major at all, and my son said the manager was cool.

My son has also had to learn how to get up for his job. He begins at nine am. During the summer, he typically enjoys staying up late and sleeping in. A few days, he tried to stay up late, but learned the hard way that he has to get to his job the next morning.

By the end of the week, he dragged himself to work.

In other words, welcome to being an adult.

Anything else?

One more thing we had to do was something that was needed for college…the bus pass.

My son will take a bus to college classes (once that resumes), but we facilitated obtaining the bus pass just in case he needed to go to or get home from his job by himself (he does not drive yet).

That will be yet another learning experience (which, I’m sure, I’ll write about).

What’s the take away?

In conclusion, it’s all good. My child (my young adult) with autism has a real job in order to gain real world experience.

As long as he’s comfortable and can learn how these things work, it’s a win-win.

Autism and the First Job


More on Kimberly Kaplan:

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