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Saturday Workshop Review: Making Employment a Reality

Parents and teachers took advantage of the break in the rain to attend our Saturday Workshop: Making Employment a Reality. Lori Doucet, BCBA and Case Supervisor at our young adult program, Center for Community Inclusion (CCI), presented during this free workshop. Lori shared information about how CCI helps clients work toward independent employment.

Lori shared some of the unfortunate statistics regarding the state of employment (and unemployment) for individuals on the autism spectrum. Lori shared that 35% of young adults ages 19-23 with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school (Shattuck et al, 2012). In June 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that 16.8% of individuals with disabilities were employed as compared to 65% of people without disabilities.

Employment is an important rite of passage for young adults and it so much more than just a paycheck. Roux et al, 2015, says “It’s about assuming an adult role in society, gaining self-confidence, establishing independence and taking those first steps toward pursuing a career.” Our learners with autism deserve those same opportunities and experiences.

Participants at the workshop learned how to assess skills and preferences including how to use the Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS). Lori discussed the importance of job sampling, where learners are exposed to a variety of work environments over the course of time to assess strengths and preferences of types of jobs on actual job sites. It is important to start these job sampling opportunities as early as age 14.

Lori role played with participants how to break down tasks in a task analysis and chain the appropriate vocational behaviors into job skills.  They discussed the importance of accuracy, fluency, generalization, independence and reinforcement when teaching job skills. Lori role played some prompting strategies, differential reinforcement strategies and ways to program for generalization.

Participants also learned about transferable skills which can apply to most job settings and transferred across settings. Some transferable skills the participants learned about were appropriate social skills, such as how to appropriately communication with a supervisor, problem solving skills, such as finding missing materials, and executive functioning skills, such as time management and organization.

Lori provided many opportunities for role play and audience participation and questions. Participants were able to ask questions about helpful ipad apps to use when teaching job skills and how to apply the strategies to their specific learners.

If you are interested in learning more about our free workshops and trainings, visit www.includingkids.org and sign up for our email list. If you are interested in having us come give a training at your location, contact outreach@includingkids.org. Interested in learning more about our Center for Community Inclusion? Contact our admissions department Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm at 281-852-0501.