There are a number of reasons why many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) struggle to successfully transition from high school to the workforce. It may be difficult for some individuals with ASD to accurately identify how their strengths and needs align with potential vocational areas. Moreover, identifying how to apply the unique strengths of individuals with ASD within mainstream post-secondary education and work environments may pose a challenge for the transition team as well.
In addition, differences in social communication skills can make job situations difficult for someone on the spectrum. Interviewing, talking to a supervisor, making small talk with co-workers, and asking for help can be challenging. Because social rules and norms do not always come naturally to individuals with ASD, the process of getting a job and sustaining employment can be very confusing. Coping with stress and anxiety in the workplace is crucial to success yet often a major challenge for individuals with ASD.
The range of vocational abilities, of interaction skills, and of cognitive problem-solving skills in individuals with a diagnosis of ASD is remarkably broad. Yet there are certain common elements that, if carefully considered, can support effective transition planning even in this diverse group of learners. These common elements, or core features, are pivotal in how the Transition Toolbox is organized and presented. Depending on the individual with ASD, certain core features will be more prominent than others.
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It is important to understand the core features that have a significant impact on the transition process. We will address these core features in future Transition Toolbox blogs.